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      Subterranean biodiversity and depth distribution of myriapods in forested scree slopes of Central Europe

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          The shallow underground of rock debris is a unique animal refuge. Nevertheless, the research of this habitat lags far behind the study of caves and soil, due to technical and time-consuming demands. Data on Myriapoda in scree habitat from eleven localities in seven different geomorphological units of the Czech and Slovak Republics were processed. Based on previous studies, as well as knowledge of cave and soil fauna, it was hypothesised that the occurrence of a varied and peculiar fauna would show a pattern of depth distribution with variations due to local specificities. From 2005–2016 (at least one year on each site), macrofauna was collected via sets of three long-term exposed subterranean traps consisting of 110 cm long perforated tube, with ten cups located in a gradient at 5–95 cm below the soil surface. In total, 14 symphylans (not identified to species level), 271 centipedes (23 spp.) and 572 millipedes (32 spp.) were sampled. The overall depth distribution of centipedes and millipedes appeared to have relatively similar pattern, with both groups being found at all depth levels. Nevertheless, this pattern depends on locations. The depth distribution trend lines are mostly in the form of an asymmetric ‘U’, with decreased abundance until the middle of the gradient, followed by increase in the deepest levels. Epigeic species were sporadically distributed along the whole depth gradient, but concentrated at the soil surface, while some subterranean species, such as the centipede Lithobius lucifugus and the millipedes Geoglomeris subterranea , Cibiniulus slovacus and Archiboreoiulus pallidus , were recorded in the deepest parts of the gradient. This characterises the debris community as a mixture of soil and subterranean species with an absence of species exclusively found in caves. The use of different fixation methods in traps had a significant and selective impact on samples; millipedes were either attracted by ethylene glycol or repelled by formaldehyde. Centipedes were also captured more frequently in ethylene glycol; however, the species composition varied in each of the fixatives. Depth distribution of myriapods was similar in both fixative solutions. Traps with these fixatives could be recommended for similar ecological studies.

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          Most cited references 53

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          Shallow Subterranean Habitats

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            Diversity of energy fluxes and interactions between arthropod communities: from soil to cave

             Charles Gers (1998)
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              Ecology and sampling techniques of an understudied subterranean habitat: the Milieu Souterrain Superficiel (MSS).

              The term Milieu Souterrain Superficiel (MSS) has been used since the early 1980s in subterranean biology to categorize an array of different hypogean habitats. In general terms, a MSS habitat represents the underground network of empty air-filled voids and cracks developing within multiple layers of rock fragments. Its origins can be diverse and is generally covered by topsoil. The MSS habitat is often connected both with the deep hypogean domain-caves and deep rock cracks-and the superficial soil horizon. A MSS is usually characterized by peculiar microclimatic conditions, and it can harbor specialized hypogean, endogean, and surface-dwelling species. In light of the many interpretations given by different authors, we reviewed 235 papers regarding the MSS in order to provide a state-of-the-art description of these habitats and facilitate their study. We have briefly described the different types of MSS mentioned in the scientific literature (alluvial, bedrock, colluvial, volcanic, and other types) and synthesized the advances in the study of the physical and ecological factors affecting this habitat-i.e., microclimate, energy flows, animal communities, and trophic interactions. We finally described and reviewed the available sampling methods used to investigate MSS fauna.

                Author and article information

                Pensoft Publishers
                28 April 2020
                : 930
                : 117-137
                [1 ] Institute of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia Pavol Jozef Šafárik University Košice Slovakia
                [2 ] Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic Palacky University Olomouc Czech Republic
                [3 ] Institute of Soil Biology, Biology Centre CAS, České Budějovice, Czech Republic Institute of Soil Biology, Biology Centre CAS České Budějovice Czech Republic
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Beáta Haľková ( beata.halkova@ 123456student.upjs.sk )

                Academic editor: L. Dányi

                Beáta Haľková, Ivan Hadrián Tuf, Karel Tajovský, Andrej Mock

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Research Article
                Forests - General and Temperate
                Soils and Soil Ecology
                Czech Republic

                Animal science & Zoology

                subterranean traps, mss, myriapoda , diplopoda , chilopoda


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