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The subterranean fauna of a biodiversity hotspot region - Portugal: an overview and its conservation

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Author(s): Reboleira Ana Sofia P.S. | Borges Paolo A.V. | Gonçalves Fernando | Serrano Artur R.M. | Oromi Pedro

Journal: International Journal of Speleology
ISSN 0392-6672

Volume: 40;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Biospeleology | hypogean fauna | patterns of diversity | conservation | caves | karst | lava tubes | Portugal | Azores | Madeira

ABSTRACT
An overview of the obligate hypogean fauna in Portugal (including Azores and Madeira archipelagos) is provided, with a list of obligated cave-dwelling species and subspecies, and a general perspective about its conservation. All the available literature on subterranean Biology of Portugal since the first written record in 1870 until today has been revised. A total of 43 troglobiont and 67 stygobiont species and subspecies from 12 orders have been described so far in these areas, included in the so-called Mediterranean hotspot of biodiversity. The subterranean fauna in Portugal has been considered moderately poor with some endemic relicts and it remains to be demonstrated if this fact is still true after investing in standard surveys in cave environments. The major problems related to the conservation of cave fauna are discussed, but it is clear that the protection of this specialized fauna implies an adequate management of surface habitats.

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