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      Food sources of selected terrestrial cave arthropods

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          Abstract

          As caves represent an extreme biotope with limited food sources, one might expect cave animal communities to exhibit low feeding specialization and to consume generally whatever organic matter is available. To test this hypothesis, we studied the feeding habits of several arthropod species in Slovakian and Romanian caves. A microanatomical approach utilizing histological methods was selected for this study. While saprophagous animals dominated, our study revealed variability within this nutritional group. Preferences ranged from fungal propagules (for the millipede Trachysphaera costata) to bacteria on bat guano (for the oribatid mite Pantelozetes cavaticus) and to cyanobacteria (for the microwhip scorpion Eukoenenia spelaea). The terrestrial isopod Mesoniscus graniger consumed a mixture of organic and inorganic substrates with plant material in various caves. These findings confirm an adaptability and phenoplasticity and, hence, a variability of characteristics developing under the pressure of extreme environmental factors.

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          Most cited references 12

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          Folsomia candida, a “fungivorous” collembolan, feeds preferentially on nematodes rather than soil fungi

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            HETEROTROPHY AND NITROGEN FIXATION IN CHLOROGLOEA FRITSCHII.

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              Enigmatic Microorganisms and Life in Extreme Environments

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Subterranean Biology
                SB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2615
                1768-1448
                July 08 2015
                July 08 2015
                : 16
                : 37-46
                Article
                10.3897/subtbiol.16.8609
                © 2015
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