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The Invertebrate Fauna of Tropical American Caves, Part II: Puerto Rico, An Ecological and Zoogeographic Analysis

Stewart B. Peck
Biotropica
Vol. 6, No. 1 (Apr., 1974), pp. 14-31
DOI: 10.2307/2989693
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2989693
Page Count: 18
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The Invertebrate Fauna of Tropical American Caves, Part II: Puerto Rico, An Ecological and Zoogeographic Analysis
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Abstract

Seventy-eight species of free-living invertebrates are known to inhabit caves in Puerto Rico. Of the 52 determined species, 23 are also known from the American mainland, 6 are West Indian, and 23 are endemic to Puerto Rico. Sixteen of the endemics are known from non-cave habitats, while the non-endemic species are usually known associated with caves in other parts of their range. Ninety percent of the total fauna is troglophilic, with only two definitely troglobitic species known. In feeding habits, the fauna is composed of 55 percent guano scavengers, detritivores, and herbivores, and 45 percent predators. Most, if not all the fauna, including the troglobites, probably has a short history of association with Puerto Rican cave habitats dating only since the Pleistocene. The species make-up of the troglophilic component of the community is dynamic and liable to change, even over short time spans, and hence can serve as an experimental system for the study of principals of island zoogeography.

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