Invertebrate Faunal Survey of Rope Ladder Cave, Northern Queensland: a Comparative Study of Sampling Methods

Philip Weinstein
David Slaney

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The macroinvertebrate fauna of Rope Ladder Cave, a tropical cave in northern Queensland, was surveyed for the first time. Fourteen species in 14 families and 10 orders were recorded in pitfall traps, leaf litter traps and by visual searching. They comprised 13 cave dwelling species (four guanophiles, four generalist detritivores, and five predators) and 1 opportunistic forager from the surface. Wet leaf‐litter traps were used for the first time as a survey method of cave fauna, and proved very effective. Such traps simulate the thriving state of a tropical cave following natural flooding. Direct searching was also very effective, but is more dependent on the presence of a surveyor with previous experience.