U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Ozark Cavefish
National Wildlife Refuge

ozark cavefish in water

Lawrence County, MO   
E-mail: mingo@fws.gov
Phone Number: 573-222-3589
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
The refuge protects habitat for the endangered Ozark cavefish.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

Continued . . .

The refuge is one of the few areas in Missouri where the Federally threatened Ozark cavefish can be found. The fish's placement on the Federal threatened species list in 1984 is due to its continuous decline in population. This decline is believed to be attributed to over-collection, pollution, and dwindling resources, such as the cave's primary energy source - bat guano.

Turnback Cave also provides summering habitat for the Federally-endangered gray bat. Serving as Turnback Cave's primary source of energy, the gray bat brings nutrients obtained outside the cave and deposits them inside in the form of bat guano. The integrity of the cave and the survival of the Ozark cavefish and the brindle cave crayfish depend heavily upon the energy source provided by the bat droppings. Human disturbance is the primary cause for bat mortality and the potential for the abandonment of the caves by the bat population.

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