Cave Fauna

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cave Fauna


(speleofauna), animals that inhabit caves, rock fissures, and various underground regions. The science concerned with cave fauna is biospeleology, which is closely related to or includes the science of life in underground waters, or phreatobiology.

Typical cave animals include many groups of invertebrates, as well as a few amphibians (for example, the family Proteidae) and fishes. The animals are ordinarily divided into three ecological groups: troglobionts, troglophiles, and trogloxenes. Troglobionts are permanent cave inhabitants. Troglophiles undergo a complete life cycle in caves but are also able to live outside caves under similar conditions. Trogloxenes spend only part of their life cycle in caves. Troglobionts are generally unpigmented and blind. Compared to other animals living in large underground regions, they have elongated appendages and, sometimes, enlarged bodies (cave gigantism). The metabolism of troglobionts is retarded, and their life cycle is usually extended.

Because caves ordinarily have high air humidity, the differences between conditions in the water and on land are slight. Therefore, aquatic cave animals can live for long periods out of water, and terrestrial cave animals can endure periodic flooding and, sometimes, can obtain food from the water. The temperature in caves is constant.

Because there are no green plants, life is supported by the introduction of organic remains from outside (bat guano, plant remains carried in by water) and by the activity of autotrophic chemosynthetic bacteria (for example, Perabacterium spelei in the caves of France).

Many troglobionts are relicts of more or less ancient faunas. The terrestrial cave fauna developed from animals that inhabit the forest floor, soil, and underground dens; the aquatic fauna is largely of marine origin.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Patterns of endemism of the eastern North American cave fauna. Journal of Biogeography 32:1441-1452.
Terrestrial leaf litter packs, aspirators, Berlese and Winkler extractors are other methods used for cave fauna sampling, however these devices are employed less often.
Recent published reports on cave fauna were on crickets [18, 19], ants [20, 21], spiders [22, 23], and cockroaches [24].
Pages 264-279 in Biodiversity response to climate change in the middle Pleistocene: the Porcupine Cave fauna from Colorado (A.
Despite the existence of numerous caves, invertebrate cave fauna of Georgia has been poorly studied or documented with only a few invertebrate surveys being conducted (3.
They were concerned the flakes would be eaten by cave fauna causing undo stress in an already nutrient-poor environment.
Because most of the cave fauna depends on constant water quality and quantity, protection efforts have focused on surface elements as well as the biological diversity contained within the caves and springs.
Obligate cave fauna of the 48 contiguous United States.
Valerio Sbordoni is a world specialist in cave fauna. His findings from expeditions in over a dozen countries have lent weight to a new theory of life on Earth
Radiocarbon dates between 25,500[+ or -]1100 and 18,140[+ or -]200 YBP indicate that the age of the Muskox Cave fauna is within the late Wisconsinan Glaciation of the late Rancholabrean Land Mammal Age (Harris 1993; Logan 1981).