Höhlentauchen / Cave Diving / Buceo en Cueva Riviera Maya
I have WhatsApp +52-9841312934

Posts Tagged Biologie

Biology Projects

Biology Projects

Documentation of Fauna and Flora

In no way do I intend to give the impression that this is a scientific research. I would like to point out, that I am not taking samples out of the cenotes, do not catch animals and collect any algae or any inorganic material in order to analyse them under the microscope – unless I am invited and within a team of scientist with the corresponding permits. First and foremost, I am a diver with a strong interest in caves, especially underwater caves. As a diver, I document was I see and also would like to put an name to what I have seen. The verification of certain species is sometimes depending on microscopic details. But as a diver, I will never be able to distinguish these species in media aqua. The obvious and apparent is sufficient for me and I try to make as focused and detailed photographs as possible in an environment that poses challenges to man and camera. And I am happy if I can find an explanation, a name, a detail, anything that I hadn’t known before and there is plenty to learn for me in that respect.

Thank you very much to all diving friends that are so kind to share their research results and articles about the various species with me. Besides the few aquaristic books I have at home, they were a valuable rescource. Especially thankful am I to Dr. Guido Kirsten, Werner Fiedler, Wolfgang Schilling, Dr. Thomas Iliffe. If I give however misleading information about some species, then this is of course my full responsibility.

Black Vulture

Rabengeier, Black Vulture, Cave CenoteThe Black Vulture is a scavenger and feeds on carrion, but will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. In areas populated by humans, it also feeds at garbage dumps. It is found in moist lowland forests and has therefore here an abundant distribution. It is usually seen soaring or perched on fence posts or dead trees. The Black Vulture lays its eggs on the ground in a wooded area, a hollow log, or some other cavity, seldom more than 3 metres above the ground.

It is known to regurgitate when approached or disturbed, which assists in predator deterrence and taking flight by decreasing its takeoff weight. Like all New World Vultures, the Black Vulture often defecates on its own legs, using the evaporation of the water in the feces and/or urine to cool itself, a process known as urohidrosis.

Vultures GeierThe Black Vulture appears in a variety of Maya hieroglyphics in Mayan codices. It is normally connected with either death or as a bird of prey. The vulture’s glyph is often shown attacking humans. This species lacks the religious connections that the King Vulture has. The mexican term for the black vulture, Zopilote, comes from nahuatl the language of the Aztecs (tzopilotl; “tzotl” means dirt and “pilotl” hang or carry referring to the way they carry the carrion while flying.


Blue Dancing Crab

Blue Dancing Crab

True crabs are distinguished from other so called crabs because they have a very short tail only which they sometimes also fold unter their body. The list of inhabitants of the Cenote logbook of the Riviera Maya names is as Blue Crab (Cardisoma guanhumi) a species  that lives only on land, however, based on fotographic comparisions and descriptions I identify this as Calllinectes sapidus, commonly known also as blue crab.

I call her dancing grab because this crustacean has a very territorial behaviour that is quite funny to look at. If you dive slowly closer, they start to wave the last pair of legs from left to right as if they hear some music. This pair of legs is flattened and normally used for swimming.

It is said that the blue crab is quite common on the golf of Mexico,  but the only place known to me so far is Casa Cenote close to Tulum.

Blind Cave Fish

Blind Cave Fish

Olgibia pearsei

(Quote from Subterranean Fishes of the World, Graham S. Proudlove, page 177)


Olgibia pearsei is the top predator in the Mayan Blue Cenote system and probably fulfils the same position in other locations (Pohlmann, Iliffe and Cifuentes, 1997; Pohlmann, Iliffe and Cifuentes, 2000). At least four species of troglobitic shrimps, Typhlatya mitchelli, T. campecheae, T. pearsei (Crustacea, Decapoda, Atyidae) and Creaseria morleyi (Crustacea, Decapoda,Palaemonidae) inhabit the subterranean waters of Yucatan (Hobbs and Hobbs, 1976; Holthuis, 1977) and these may form part of the food supply of the cave fishes. Reddell (1981) records other aquatic fauna from this area.