Terrestrial fauna of the largest granitic cave from Southern Hemisphere, southeastern Brazil: A neglected habitat

Maria Elina Bichuette, André R. Nascimento, Diego M. von Schimonsky, Jonas E. Gallão, Leonardo P.A. Resende, Tamires Zepon


Studies focusing cave fauna on granitic caves are relatively rare when compared to carbonatic ones and no one considered replicas in the sampling to test fauna distribution patterns. We describe the terrestrial fauna of Riacho Subterrâneo cave through four sampling occasions (replicas) in different seasons. We analyzed seasonality and substrate preference of terrestrial invertebrates and discussed the importance of this neglected habitat as a refuge for fauna. Furthermore, we stressed the importance of the replicas in order to detect subterranean biodiversity patterns. The cave represents the greatest richness considering igneous rocks in Brazil (199 taxa) and has an important role as refuge for epigean fauna, besides the maintenance of troglophilic and trogloxene populations.

Keywords: subterranean microhabitats, igneous rock, Neotropical Region, seasonality, refuge.

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