Ecological Classification of Subterranean Organisms


Material Information

Ecological Classification of Subterranean Organisms
Series Title:
Encyclopedia of Caves
Trajano, Eleonora
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Subterranean Organisms ( local )
Troglobites ( local )
Troglophiles ( local )
Trogloxenes ( local )
Schiner–Racovitza Classification ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


For 150 years, animals found in subterranean habitats, particularly caves, have been classified into three categories based on their ecological–evolutionary relationships with this environment, according to the Schiner–Racovitza classification: troglobites, troglophiles, and trogloxenes. Overthe last century, some modifications in nomenclature and redefinition of categories, including subdivisions, have been proposed, except for troglobites (exclusively subterranean organisms), which remained stable. Most controversies refer to trogloxenes, whose definition varies considerably among classifications; the main point of disagreement is the inclusion or not of organisms accidentally introduced in caves. New terms have been recently proposed—stygobites, stygophiles, and stygoxenes—to encompass aquatic organisms in nonkarst habitats. A broader classification, with the original three categories (accidentals excluded) redefined in order to incorporate the ecological differences between source and sink populations, is presented.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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