The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 43 Number 3: 70-79 - July 1981

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Zoogeography of Invertebrate Cave Faunas in Southwestern Puerto Rico
Stewart B. Peck


Taxonomic data are given as results of new faunal investigations of 5 Puerto Rican caves. This adds 73 species (including 6 troglobites, or obligate cavernicoles) to the known list of non-accidental, cave-dwelling, macroscopic invertebrates; bringing the total of 151 for Puerto Rico (excluding Mona Island). The terrestrial troglophile community in caves in the subtropical, arid, forest life-zone of the south coast has a 43% faunal resemblance to the community in the caves of the subtropical, moist, forest life-zone of the north coast. The similarity is mostly due to species requiring moist environments; most of the species are also known from outside caves, being found in moist, forest leaf-litter. This suggests past climatic change and that the sub-tropical, moist, forest zone once included at least part of the area containing the south-coast caves. The former presence of moist forest around the caves gave colonizing access to the caves to some of the invertebrates living in the moist, forest leaf-litter. Cueva Los Chorros should receive protection to limit disturbance to its rich faunal community.

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