- Cricket occupancy in the caves is seasonal and zonal with detectability ≤1
- Relative density and relative abundance does not vary between the caves zones
- Morphology of the caves influence the abundance and density of crickets
- Cave with plausible source population with no extinction probability is identified
- Further studies recommended for the conservation of caves and cave fauna
Cave-dwelling organisms share different ecological and evolutionary relationships with caves. Based on these interactions, they are categorized as troglobites, troglophiles, and trogloxenes. In India, caves are meagerly explored, and thus cave study is in its infancy in India. Through the present study, we attempted to understand and model the distribution of crickets (Family Phalangopsidae), a critical group of insects - being the primary consumers in the cave ecosystems. We sampled seven caves using belt transects (N = 184; total area covered = 1294.9 m2) with 1 m width. During the survey, we encountered 818 individual crickets (116.85 ± 47.16 SD per cave). Of these, 87.7% encounters were on walls, 7.09% were on the ceiling, and 5.13% were on the cave floor. We used the Single-species Multi-season occupancy model to calculate the overall, zone-wise, and cave-specific occupancy. Cricket occupancy in Baratang caves is seasonal and highly zonal, with detectability ≤1. The cave with less distinct zones has more consistent occupancies and zero chances of extinction and colonization. Hence, these caves serve as suitable habitat for the source population. A negative correlation of cave morphometric features (cave volume, wall surface area, and floor surface area), and density of crickets (p < 0.05), might need further validation. The study shows the need for detailed studies regarding cricket taxonomy and ecology towards establishing the conservation importance of the species and their habitat in the islands.
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Dhamorikar, Amruta; Dhanusha Kawalkar; and Shirish Manchi.
Distribution of crickets (Subfamily: Phalangopsinae) in caves of Baratang Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol49/iss3/5