Revista Brasileira de Biologia
Print version ISSN 0034-7108
FERREIRA, R. L. and HORTA, L. C. S.. Natural and human impacts on invertebrate communities in Brazilian caves. Rev. Bras. Biol. [online]. 2001, vol.61, n.1, pp.7-17. ISSN 0034-7108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-71082001000100003.
Species richness, abundance, distribution and similairity between cave invertebrate communities were compared among seven caves located in the Peruaçu River valley, north of Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Such comparisons aimed to determinate the degree of biological complexity in the sampled caves, calculated by the "Index of Biological Complexity in Caves", presented in this manuscript. The presence of potencial or real impacts on the cave fauna was also investigated. A total of 1,468 individuals belonging to 57 families of: Acarina, Pseudoscorpionida, Araneida, Opilionida, Amblypygi, Isopoda, Geophilomorpha, Scutigeromorpha, Spirostreptida, Coleoptera, Collembola, Diptera, Dictyoptera, Ephemeroptera, Ensifera, Heteroptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Plecoptera, Psocoptera, and Trichoptera was collected. Caves with higher resource availability (as those hidrologicaly actives) had a higher biological complexity than those with less resource. There are two types of impacts that occur in the area: the natural (geological) and the anthropic, as intense "stepping" and visitation or use of cave entrances as cattle shelters. There are caves with different preservation degrees in the area, with invertebrate communities in varied complexity states. The communities of these caves undoubtedly deserve care, since the area is extremely important in the Brazilian biospeleological context.
Keywords : caves; communities; impacts; invertebrates; Peruaçu River.