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Microarthropod Ecology of a Porcupine‐Inhabited Cave in Nova Scotia
- Calder, Dale R., Bleakney, J. Sherman
- Ecology 1965 v.46 no.6 pp. 895-899
- Erethizon dorsatum, Isotomidae, Poduridae, biocenosis, caves, ecological succession, fauna, feces, food webs, freezing, temperature, winter, Nova Scotia
- The most important source of organic detritus in Nova Scotia caves is feces of the porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum. The high organic content of this cave detritus supports a numerically rich microarthropod fauna, composed of epigean species preadapted to a troglic environment. The fauna is of recent, postglacial origin, and no troglobites were identified. Three distinct stages in detritus decomposition presented three stages in ecological succession, each with a characteristic fauna. The majority of the cave Collembola were eyeless and unpigmented. The Isotomidae accounted for 83.5% of the cave fauna. All families of Collembola were represented except the Poduridae. Recognizable trophic levels and food web patterns exist in the cave biotic community. The fauna is active all year, since deep in the cave temperatures remain above freezing during the winter.