Cave fauna of Georgia

The Caucasus is home to some of the deepest caves in the world, but biologically these caves are still almost unexplored. In collaboration with local spelunkers, Taxon Foundation carried out an expedition to investigate the cave animals of some of the most spectacular limestone caves of Georgia.


Below are the collected specimens, click on the image for more information.

Further down on this page, you can also find an overview of the different caves that have been visited.

Specimen taxons


In november, 2022, a team from Taxon Foundation, consisting of Iva Njunjić, Sotiris Kountouras, Henk van der Meulen, and Menno Schilthuizen, conducted a field project in the districts of Imereti and Samogrelo in Georgia. Together with the Georgian cave researchers Shalva Barjadze, Eter Maghradze, Lado Shavadze, and Valeri Barbaqadze, 12 caves were visited and sampled in 7 days’ of field work. In each cave, multiple species of cave organisms were encountered, belonging to all three categories (in order of increasing cave specialisation: trogoxenes, troglophiles, and troglobites). Also, freshwater cave organisms were found (stygobionts). All material was photographed in situ by Sotiris Kountouras, and the DNA barcodes of many specimens were determined by Henk van der Meulen. Te entire team is currently working on organising and publishing the collected specimens. On this page, you will find photographs of the animals that were found, links to their pages on the Barcoding of Life Database, and further information on the caves that were explored.