(06/05/2014) This pest of the northern spring can travel up to twenty miles on the wind. How to get away? Dress in yellow, some suggest, or tie a dragonfly to your hat. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager consult.
(05/15/2014) The octopus has held a fascination for people throughout the ages. Martha Foley describes a surfside encounter with beauty, and Dr. Curt Stager talks about the unusual qualities of this shelless mollusk, from its discernible...
(05/08/2014) Kangaroos are marsupials, mammals who have a protective pouch in which they raise their young until they are developed enough to endure conditions in the outside world. What most people might not know is that the birth of kangaroos in a...
(05/01/2014) The Eastern hognose snake is better known by its nickname, puff adder, derived from its aggressive display when disturbed. Its bite is mildly venomous, capable of sedating small prey, such as toads. Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss...
(06/03/2014) This year marks the 75th anniversary of the classic American film, "The Wizard of Oz." A large cast and crew from the Saranac Lake area is in the midst of final rehearsals this week for their production. The show, which opens at the...
(06/16/2014) Playwright John Logan was awarded the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards for "Red," his play about Rothko, when it appeared on Broadway. Mark Rothko emigrated to the United States from Russia in 1913. He...
(06/13/2014) Pendragon Theatre has opened its summer season with the award-winning play "Red." The two character bio-drama, written by John Logan, is set in Mark Rothko's art studio in New York City in the late 1950s. Rothko was a well-known...
(07/16/2014) Harpist Martha Gallagher has spent years on the road sharing her brand of harp music nationally and internationally. This year, she's staying closer to her home in Keene. She's calling her 2014 concert series, "Home in the...
(05/06/2014) The emergency room in Lake Placid, operated by Adirondack Health, will be the first in New York state to operate on a part-time basis, under a new plan approved by the New York State Department of Health.
Though he says he’s claustrophobic, Dr. Curt Stager of Paul
Smith’s College said, “From a young age, I was always interested in reading
about caves and always wanted to go and see these blind cave salamanders and
fish and stuff. The caves I’ve been in have been the wrong kind or not deep
Stager has spent time in Chimney Mountain Cave in the
Adirondacks studying bats. This cave has granite fractures and lacks the stalagmites
and stalactites characteristic of limestone caves. According to Stager, the
cave is deep. He said, “You get down to the bottom of this and there’s ice on
the floor, even in the summer.”
Limestone caves have distinctive formations in them, and
they also often have a stream running through them or an underground lake. Both
terrestrial and aquatic cave communities can be found. Stager says that the
species are separated and identified by the zones that they live in, which are
mapped out according to distance from the cave’s entrance, how much light there
is and what the temperature is.
“If you go deep enough, you won’t feel the changing
temperatures from the seasons,” said Stager. “With that kind of a stable
temperature, and being really far from the surface, so you can’t really go out
and forage very easily, you’ll get animals that are adapted to that kind of
Due to lack of light, most cave-dwelling animals are white, pink
or clear in color. There aren’t very
many mammals or birds in caves since they often rely on their vision and have
higher metabolisms. Stager said, “The largest kinds of things you’d find in a
place like that would be some kind of a cave fish or salamanders or crayfish.”
It can be difficult to find food in the caves. “The cave
communities are, in a way, connected to the surface world in the sense that the
food chain is based on the decay of debris brought in on a spring flood, or if
there are bats in there, they’ll come in and there will be bat guano or even
bat hairs falling off or mites on their body or whatever,” said Stager.
Organisms that live in caves full time are called troglodytes.
They have to have low metabolisms to survive, according to Stager. They also
don’t need pigments in their bodies or eyes. Some cave crayfish have eyestalks,
but no eyeballs on the ends of the stalks. Instead, they have longer antennae
and don’t chase their prey; they methodically locate food via vibrations, smell
These animals don’t respond to light or to the proximity of
humans, but they can be very difficult to catch with nets since they can sense the
nets in the water.