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Isleta Cave No. 2

NM: Bernalillo Co.:T8N, R1E, ca. 1716 m.


Location of the Isleta Cave sites.Age. Late Wisconsin and Holocene. One date of 11,230 ± 140 (AA-1207) is available.

Description. Small "bubble" in lava with the opening at top. There is about a 2-m drop to the present surface.

Discussion. This is a self-baiting carnivore trap for small carnivores and a pitfall trap for medium-size mammals such as rabbits and prairie dogs. The efficiency as a carnivore trap becomes obvious when the number of identified specimens (NISP) is noted. Out of a current identified NISP of all taxa from the site of 1129, Vulpes is represented by an NISP of 429 (301 V. velox, 41 V. vulpes, 7 V. macrotis and 77 identifiable to genus only), Taxidea taxus by 62, Canis latrans by 129, C. lupus by 28, and Lynx rufus by 37.

The fill has been disturbed by archaeological excavations in the 1940s and possibly by others; it's unclear as to how close to the entrance the original surface came. Obviously Holocene material is present as well as a Pleistocene fauna. Some specimens retain dried tissue and likely are Holocene (see the remarks in the Isleta Cave No. 1 account), but the fauna has not been gone through critically to separate Pleistocene from Holocene. Several taxa listed in the past have been rejected from the Pleistocene fauna as likely Holocene or further information since the original identifications casts doubt on the identification. Vulpes macrotis, the current small fox in the area, is listed since there is no physical evidence placing them in the Holocene, though the suspicion is that they entered the region only after V. velox retreated to the east.

It's unclear whether the Arctodus specimen (Harris and Findley 1964) was from this site or the nearby Isleta Cave No. 1; it is listed here in both.



Masticophis sp.—Coachwhip (UTEP)
Pantherophis emoryi—Great Plains Rat Snake (cf.)
Pituophis catenifer—Gopher Snake (UTEP)
Crotalus sp.—Rattlesnake (UTEP)


Centrocercus urophasianus—Greater Sage-grouse (Harris 1993c)
Eagle—Golden or Bald Eagle (UTEP)
Corvus corax—Common Raven (Harris 1993c)


Cynomys gunnisoni—Gunnison's Prairie Dog (Harris 1993c)
Marmota flaviventris—Yellow-bellied Marmot (Harris 1993c)
Dipodomys merriami/ordii—Merriam's or Ord's Kangaroo Rat (UTEP)
Thomomys bottae—Botta's Pocket Gopher (Harris 1993c)
Lemmiscus curtatus—Sagebrush Vole (Harris 1993c)
Neotoma albigula—White-throated Woodrat (Harris 1993c)
Neotoma cinerea—Bushy-tailed Woodrat (Harris 1993c)
Neotoma micropus—Southern Plains Woodrat (Harris 1993c: ?)
Onychomys leucogaster—Northern Grasshopper Mouse (Harris 1993c)
Reithrodontomys sp.—Harvest Mouse (Harris 1993c)
Brachylagus idahoensis—Pygmy Rabbit (Harris 1993c)
Lepus sp.—Jackrabbit (UTEP)
Sylvilagus audubonii—Desert Cottontail (Harris 1993c, UTEP)
Sylvilagus floridanus—Eastern Cottontail (Harris 1993c, UTEP)
Sylvilagus nuttallii—Mountain Cottontail (Harris 1993c)
Lynx rufus—Bobcat (Harris 1993c)
Canis latrans—Coyote (Harris 1993c)
Canis lupus—Gray Wolf (Harris 1993c)
Urocyon cinereoargenteus—Gray Fox (Harris 1993c)
Vulpes macrotis—Kit Fox (Harris 1993c)
Vulpes velox—Swift Fox (Harris 1993c)
Vulpes vulpes—Red Fox (Harris 1993c)
†Arctodus simus—Giant Short-faced Bear (Harris and Findley 1964)
Ursus americanus—Black Bear (Harris 1993c)
Mustela nigripes—Black-footed Ferret (Harris 1993c)
Neovison vison—Mink (Harris 1993c: cf.)

Mustela vison

Taxidea taxus—American Badger (Harris 1993c)
Mephitis mephitis—Striped Skunk (Harris 1993c)
†Equus conversidens—Mexican Horse (Harris 1993c: cf.)
†Equus scotti—Scott's Horse (Harris 1993c: cf.; UTEP)
†Hemiauchenia macrocephala—Big-headed Llama (Harris 1993c: cf.)
Antilocapra americana—Pronghorn (UTEP)


Chaetodipus intermedius—Rock Pocket Mouse (Harris 1993c)
Perognathus flavus—Silky Pocket Mouse (Harris 1993c)
Dipodomys spectabilis—Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat (Harris 1993c)
Onychomys torridus—Torridus-type Grasshopper Mouse (Harris 1993c)
Lepus californicus—Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Harris 1993c)
Lepus townsendii—White-tailed Jackrabbit (cf.)

Literature. Findley et al. 1975; Harris 1993c; Harris and Findley 1964.


Last Update: 19 Feb 2015