Faunal diversity of an insular crepuscular cave of Goa, India

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Pratiksha Sail
Manoj Ramakant Borkar
Ismat Shaikh
Archana Pal


This study is the first attempt to document troglofaunal diversity of crepuscular cave ecosystem from the state of Goa.  Twelve faunal species (seven invertebrates and five vertebrates) have been documented from an insular crepuscular cave which measures 18.62m in floor length and shows a transition of light and hygrothermal profile between its entrance and dead end.  Absence of primary producers, thermal constancy, high humidity, poor ventilation, and competitive exclusion due to limited food resources restricts the faunal diversity of this cave; though trophic linkages are interesting yet speculative, as is typical of subterranean ecosystem.  Among the macro-invertebrates, cavernicolous Whip Spider is a significant species here; whereas the important vertebrates encountered are the Fungoid frog and the Indian Cricket frog, besides roosts of the Rufous Horseshoe bat.  Eco-energetic subsidy, possibly offered by crickets and bats that regularly feed outside this oligotrophic cave ecosystem is discussed.  The need to document the unique and vulnerable troglofauna of this sensitive ecosystem from the conservation perspective is highlighted.   

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