Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 60 Number 3: 156-166 -December 1998

A publication of the National Speleological Society

The Cave-inhabiting Beetles of Cuba (Insecta: Coleoptera): Diversity, Distribution and Ecology
Stewart B. Peck, Amador E. Ruiz-Baliú and Gabriel F. Garcés González


The known cave-inhabiting beetle fauna of Cuba is summarized. Fifty-three species have been found in 70 low elevation caves in 11 provinces. Distribution of species by family is: Carabidae, 10; Dytiscidae, 4; Gyrinidae, 2; Hydrophilidae, 2; Histeridae, 5; Leiodidae, 2; Ptiliidae, 3; Staphylinidae, 1; Scarabaeidae, 4; Elateridae, 2; Lampyridae, 1; Nitidulidae, 1; Cerylonidae, 1; Tenebrionidae, 12; and Curculionidae, 3. Twenty-four of the species are judged to be accidental cave inhabitants. The remaining 29 species can be placed in the following ecological-evolutionary categories: trogloxenes, 3 species; first-level troglophiles, 21 species; second-level troglophiles (=unmodified neotroglobites), 5 species. No true troglobites are known (i.e., none of the species is morphologically specialized for cave life). About 59% of the non-accidental inhabitants are endemic to Cuba. The taxonomic composition is similar to that in caves in other West Indian Islands, and impoverished when compared to Neotropical continental caves. The abundance of food (bat guano) seems a prime factor preventing selection for cave-specialization in lowland West Indian and continental Neotropical cave beetles.

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