Population ecology of Goniosoma spelaeum, a cavernicolous harvestman from south‐eastern Brazil (Arachnida: Opiliones: Gonyleptidae)


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Publication Date

July 1996


Goniosoma spelaeum (Mello‐Leitão) is a widespread trogloxene harvestman in caves of the Ribeira Valley in São Paulo State. It inhabits walls and ceilings near cave entrances. Populations inhabiting six selected caves of the region were analysed during this study. Mark‐recapture techniques were used to estimate population sizes. Populations vary from tens to hundreds of individuals in each cave, and vary throughout the year. Barra Bonita cave had the largest population and was used to identify other ecological features of the species. These harvestmen show a high degree of philopartry, and recapture rate was high. They remain motionless inside the caves during the day, leaving them after dark to forage, and return just after dawn. They always feed outside the caves and do not carry food into the caves. Soft‐bodied insects were the main food observed in the field. In the laboratory, they accepted plant and animal items and industrial foods. Their main predators are the spider Ctenus fasciatus , the heteropteran Zelurus travassosi , and the marsupial Philander opossum , and their main parasites are dipteran larvae (probably Phoridae).


Goniosoma Spelaeum, Harvestman, Ecology

Document Type



Journal of Zoology, Vol. 239, no. 3 (1996-07-01).