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Adult female Pseudanophthalmus fulleri. Smithsonian Institution specimen (holotype}. Photo may be subject to copyright.
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Pseudanophthalmus fulleri Valentine, 1932

a cave obligate ground beetle

Federal Protection: No US federal protection

State Protection: No Georgia state protection

Global Rank: G2G3

State Rank: SNR

SWAP High Priority Species (SGCN): No

Element Occurrences (EOs) in Georgia: 7

Habitat Summary for element in Georgia: Georgia habitat information not available


Pseudanophthalmus fulleri is a small (4-4.5 mm long) eyeless ground beetle.  Its body is rusty or reddish brown in color, and its legs may be the same color or slightly lighter.

Similar Species

The related species P. digitus is found in Byer’s Cave and Johnson’s Crook cave, both of which are known habitats for P. fulleri.  P. digitus is smaller (3.6-4.1 mm) than P. fulleri, may be lighter in color, and may occur in different situations within the same cave.  Other related Pseudanophthalmus species occur in different cave systems than P. fulleri.


Limestone caves in northwestern Georgia and southeastern Tennessee.  In Georgia, caves known to contain P. fulleri populations are located in Walker County and Dade County at the base of Lookout Mountain.  Several of these caves are regularly visited by cavers: Byer’s, Johnson’s Crook, Cemetery Pit, and Howard’s Waterfall caves are open to tourism through the Southeastern Cave Conservancy (SCCi), and Sittons’s and Case caves are open to tourism through Cloudland Canyon State Park.  Reeves et. al. collected specimens in mud and organic debris at the base of the entrance pits of Cemetery Pit and Upper Valley Cave.


P. fulleri is predatory and hunts other small cave fauna.

Life History

Pseudanophthalmus fulleri is a predatory cave obligate beetle.  Not much is known about its life history.

Survey Recommendations

We recommend monitoring P. fulleri populations in caves it is historically known to inhabit, as well as surveying other caves in Dade County and Walker County.  Special attention should be paid to caves at the western base of Lookout Mountain.


This rare beetle is known to inhabit specific limestone caves in northwestern Georgia and southeastern Tennessee.  In Dade County, P. fulleri is known to occur in Byer’s, Johnson’s Crook, Howard’s Waterfall, Cemetery Pit, Upper Valley, Morrison, Sitton’s, Deer Head Cove, and Case caves.  In Walker County, P. fulleri is known to occur in Horseshoe Cave.


Populations are sparse and confined to individual caves.  Disruption of these caves’ ecosystems, such as by frequent tourism, may threaten the survival of this species.  Development of cave areas is unlikely, since most caves P. fulleri is known to inhabit are now part of a preserve.

Georgia Conservation Status

P. fulleri is not under Georgia state protection.  Its state conservation status is currently unranked.

Conservation Management Recommendations

More research into P. fulleri’s rarity and vulnerability is recommended so their conservation status can be properly assessed.  Current knowledge of P. fulleri’s populations is scarce and most research is decades old.


Barr, T. (1965). The Pseudanophthalmus of the Appalachian Valley (Coleoptera: Carabidae). The American Midland Naturalist,73(1), 41-72. doi:10.2307/2423320

Barr, T. (1981). Pseudanophthalmus from Appalachian caves (Coleoptera: Carabidae): The engelhardti complex: Brimleyana, v. 5, p. 37-94.

Buhlmann, K. A. (2001). A biological inventory of eight caves in northwestern Georgia with conservation implications. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 63(3), 91–98.

Holsinger, J.R. & Peck., S.B., 1971, The invertebrate cave fauna of Georgia: NSS Bulletin, v. 33, p. 23-44.

Niemiller, M.L., Zigler, K.S., Ober, K.A., Carter, E.T., Engel, A.S., Moni, G., Philips, T.K. and Stephen, C.D.R. (2017), Rediscovery and conservation status of six short‐range endemic Pseudanophthalmus cave beetles (Carabidae: Trechini). Insect Conserv Divers, 10: 495-501. doi:10.1111/icad.12263

REEVES, W. K.; JENSEN, J. B. & OZIER, J. C. (2000): New faunal and fungal records from caves in Georgia, USA. – Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 62(3): 169–179.

Valentine, J. (1932). A CLASSIFICATION OF THE GENUS PSEUDANOPHTHALMUS JEANNEL (FAM. CARABIDAE) WITH DESCRIPTIONS OF NEW SPECIES AND NOTES ON DISTRIBUTION. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society,47(2), 261-280. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/24332003

Authors of Account

Q. Collins

Date Compiled or Updated


Adult female Pseudanophthalmus fulleri. Smithsonian Institution specimen (holotype). Photo may be subject to copyright.