Superficial subterranean habitats – gateway to the subterranean realm?
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Cave and Karst Science
Superficial subterranean habitats (SSHs) include small drainages that emerge as seeps (hypotelminorheic), small cavities in the uppermost part of karstified rock (epikarst), talus slopes (milieu souterrain superficiel), and cracks and shallow tubes in lava. They share only two important features with better known subterranean habitats, especially caves – they are aphotic environments and they harbour a fauna modified for subterranean life, including species that are eyeless and without pigment. The occupants and environmental characteristics of these habitats are reviewed. The presence of troglomorphic species in SSHs suggests that the absence of light is the primary selective factor in the evolution of the distinctive morphology of cave animals, and that species in SSHs might have given rise to species in deeper subterranean habitats such as caves.
Culver, David C. and Pipan., Tanja, "Superficial subterranean habitats – gateway to the subterranean realm?" (2008). KIP Articles. 7626.