The First Ever Biological Inventory of Bridal Cave

The inside of our mid-Missouri scenic underground cave contains a very unique ecosystem. The animals and bugs that live in Bridal Cave have adapted to the climate of this cave system in some very interesting ways.

Some of the creatures you are most likely aware of are the tricolor bats, salamanders, and even frogs. What you may not realize is that there is an entirely different ecosystem in addition to those that can only be seen under a microscope. For the first time in the history of Bridal Cave, we are conducting a survey to find out exactly what types of small creatures exist inside the cave. 

One of our incredible tour guides, River Wise, has a wonderful fascination with all bugs and animals. When his Science Research Class at Camdenton High School discussed doing a biological inventory, River immediately brought up Bridal Cave as the perfect site to conduct this class project. We are thrilled that his teacher agreed! 

With permission from general manager Steve Thompson, and under the direction of the Camdenton R3 science research teacher Chris Reeves, the biological inventory of our invertebrate fauna began. It started on November 5 and will continue each Saturday throughout November. The goal of this project is to determine the species, areas of location, and if time allows, the population of each species.  

Ben Coleman, from Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park's maintenance department, is helping with the study, and so is Eric Hertzler. Mr. Hertzler is well-known in caving circles for his important work in mapping and cave photography, plus he is also a past tour guide of our very own Lake of the Ozarks cave. He is providing the scientific resources and serving as a general advice consultant for this project. 

So far the results have been very exciting. Some of the tiny creatures that have been found are featured in this blog's photos. The group is now in the process of identifying each and every one of the specimens they are finding. Who knows? Maybe they will even find a brand new species that has adapted to the unique habitat of Bridal Cave and cannot be found anywhere else in the world! 

We'll be sure to keep you posted as more information is discovered. The entire study should be completed by the end of January, and we will make sure to let you know all of the details when it is done. We would like to thank River, the Camdenton R3 School, Ben Coleman, and Eric Hertzler for their desire to help us better understand the extremely special cave life that resides at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park.

Studies like this are the perfect way to make our already exciting Lake of the Ozarks attraction even more interesting. Everyone that visits gets to learn all sorts of educational information, all while having a good time. An excellent day out, plus you get to learn something new. Family fun as it should be!  

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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676


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