Acadian biospeleology: composition and ecology of cave fauna of Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick, Canada
1) Research Associate, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, Canada B3H 3A6
(E-mail: [email protected])
The vertebrate and invertebrate fauna, environment and habitats of caves and disused mines in Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick are provisionally catalogued and described, based on field collections made over many years. The area was glaciated and the subterranean fauna consists of non-troglobites all of which have arrived and colonised the caves during or following final recession of the Pleistocene glaciers. The statistical composition of the fauna at the higher taxonomic level is similar to that in Ontario, but is less species rich and there are some notable ecological and other differences. Porcupine dung accumulations are an important habitat in the region, constituting a cold-temperate analogue of the diverse guano habitats of southern and tropical caves. Parietal assemblages are, as in other cold temperate regions, an important component of the invertebrate fauna but here include species derived directly from dung communities: another parallel with tropical guano caves. An unanticipated finding is the number of non-indigenous species now utilising local caves. These appear to have colonised unfilled ecological niches, suggesting that post-glacial recolonisation of the subterranean habitat in Nova Scotia has been relatively delayed. Finally the general and regional significance of the subterranean fauna is briefly discussed.
Keywords: Cave fauna, Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, porcupine dung, guano caves, parietal, threshold fauna, introduced taxa, post-glacial, recolonisation.
International Journal of Speleology 36 (1) 1-21 Bologna (Italy) January 2007. Open Access Article.