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Kotumsar Cave biodiversity: a review of cavernicoles and their troglobiotic traits

Biswas, Jayant
Biodiversity and conservation 2010 v.19 no.1 pp. 275-289
adaptation, biodiversity, biologists, caves, ecosystems, extinction, habitats, researchers, India
The evolutionary adaptations of the organisms which inhabit the unusual and fragile ecosystems within caves are of inherent interest to both biologists and laymen. Cave organisms generally develop a high degree of physiological and behavioural adaptation for survival in the subterranean environment. The Kotumsar Cave is biologically the best known cave in India and has attracted interest from researchers from all over the world. This paper assesses the ecological community and overall habitat of the cave. This is based on long-term field observations and the review of the extensive literature on Kotumsar. For each species, features indicative of evolutionary adaptation to the cave environment are noted and conclusions drawn regarding the status of the species as a cavernicole. Several species of this cave are yet to get a proper study for correct taxonomic position although they have apparent troglomorphic dispositions. Several species which are highly endemic to this cave are probably in verge of its extinction. A serious measure to conserve the whole biodiversity has been suggested.