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Species Diversity and Endemism  

What is Endemism?

Endemism means that a species of organisms are found in one environment and nowhere else.

What is the Rate of Endemism in Caves?

973 species and subspecies have been reported from caves or other subsurface environments in the U.S. Many of these organisms show a high rate of endemism .

Dave Culver and Mary Christman analyzed all 973 species and wrote an article (see Further Reading) which reports:

594 (61%) species are restricted to just one county.
224 (23%) species are restricted to one state in the U.S.
155 (16%) species are not restricted. (only 9 species are known from more than 30 counties)

This high rate of endemism means that a species of cave animal could easily be wiped out. For example, the building of a shopping mall in Texas can destroy a cave that was home to an endemic insect that does not live anywhere else in the world. That insect species would then be completely wiped out.

Click on the Link(s) Below to Learn (About)...

Species Richness
The Species Diversity of a Cave


Click to Learn More About the Differences Between Cave and Surface Food Webs?
Click Here for an Example of Competition
Click Here to Find Out About Species Diversity
Click Here to Learn About Nutrient Cycling

Further Reading on Species Diversity and Endemism
Cool Facts About Species Diversity and Endemism