The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 44 Number 2: 32-41 - April 1982

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Zoogeography of Cave Collembola East of the Great Plains
Kenneth Christiansen


The distribution patterns of 92 species of collembola found in North American caves can be classified in 5 cateories: 1) Epigeic species with rare opportunistic cave occupation, 2) Troglophilic species with opportunistic cave occupation, 3) Troglophilic species with scattered pockets of cave occupation and adaptations, 4) Troglobitic species with a single successful cave invasion and subsequent largely underground spread, and 5) Troglobitic species which have evolved separetely in different systems by parallel specialtion. Troglomorphy tends to increase from pattern 1 to patterns 4 or 5.

The caves occupied by these species can be broken into 3 major categories: A) Glaciated-area caves, B) Heartland caves, and C) Non-glaciated, non-heartland caves. The 3 cave areas show very different patterns in cave occupation and in major taxonomic groups. Thus, distribution pattern 2 dominates in A and C caves and patterns 4 and 5 in B caves. Taxonomic groups show similar differences. The subfamily Entomobryinae, which shows the greatest troglomorphy, dominates in B caves, while the families Isotomidae and Onychiuridae, which show the least troglomorphy, dominate in A caves. Type C caves are intermediate and have the highest percentages of Tomocerinae and Sminthuridae, which are intermediate in degress of troglomorphy.

This page last updated: 9 June, 2002 7:23
Web Author: Jim Pisarowicz