Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Old Man's Cave - Hocking Hills, Ohio

Old Man's Cave is an interesting place. It's part of Hocking Hills, an Ohio state park, and is located near Logan, Ohio. The state parks in Ohio are wonderful places to enjoy nature, find bugs, and just revel in various types of biology, and Old Man's Cave is no exception. The cave is named after a settler who lived in the cave after the Civil War, Richard Rowe. He was killed by an accidental shot from his own gun, and it's rumored that local Native Americans buried him near the Cave. Who knows if that's true or not, but it's an interesting story.

Moss covers every rock around the park, and there are good amounts of lichens and bryophytes as well.

While I was there, I found a lot of mushrooms. If you're a mycologist, you'll enjoy the place.

Unfortunately, my mycology skills are pretty non-existent right now. I'll have to come back to the ecology and identification of these at a later date. But still, very neat, and a good variety for only a cursory glance. I only had an hour or two there, but I'm positive there's a lot more to explore and discover.

Conocephalum conicum - Scented liverwort/Snake liverwort

The liverworts, as usual, were quite pretty as well. They were very prevalent in the moist areas near the bottom and sides of the caves, and by the waterfalls.

I found one very interesting insect while examining the lichen on a tree. Strangely enough, the lichen started to move. It actually turned out to be the larva of a lacewing, an insect within the order Neuroptera. Lacewing larvae will routinely cover themselves with debris: lichen, dirt, dead insects, etc. to help them blend in with their surroundings, or hide their bodies. It's pretty good camouflage, you wouldn't know they were there if they stayed still.

Sadly, with only an hour and a half to explore, I missed a lot. The only solution to that, of course, is to return with more time to explore.


  1. Nice post again and great photos! I'm pretty sure you found some coral fungi, chanterelles, and the liverwort is most likely Conocephalum conicum. Chanterelles are edible but you have to be careful not to confuse them with similar looking poisonous species. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Mike! I'll search for more information on the liverwort, thanks for the suggestion--I don't know much about them yet. Liverworts and fungi are on my list to research a bit more, such marvelous organisms!