|Species Diversity and 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.