Biospeleology. It is the branch of biology that studies life in hypogeous environments, ( hypo = below, geo = earth); places with a shortage or total absence of light, with constant humidity and with a shortage of oxygen .
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Armando Viré created in 1904 the term Biospeleology to designate the science that aims to study the living beings that populate the underground domain. This science, as such, was born in the mid- 19th century and since then it has been developing thanks to the collaboration and dedication of numerous specialists and tireless prospectors.
This search continued for more than a century nowadays allows to offer a very complete inventory of the underground forms; Hundreds of writings, publications and articles have been devoted to the systematics of cave forms. Currently, the morphology of these animals and certain particularly noteworthy aspects of their anatomy are well known.
Science that aims to study living things that populate the underground domain.
Recently it has been discovered that bacteria called calcium bacteria grow on stalactites and stalagmites , which reach them through organic substances diluted in the water, often contaminated. This phenomenon is evident in shallow hypogeous environments.
In addition to algae and mosses , higher plants such as ferns or some other herbaceous plants live in the outer areas of the caves fed by the organic substances that are introduced into the cave transported by the waters or because it is part of the excrement of the animals that the use as shelter.
The most curious living beings that inhabit caves are animals, in other times considered magical animals, today they are studied by science with real interest in their adaptations to life in darkness and their morphology. In a cave and depending on the relationship with it, three kinds of animals are distinguished:
Troglobites : They are the animals that live all their lives inside the cave , often in total darkness. The cave cricket or some species of fish belong to this group. Its morphological adaptations are numerous and all related to the absence of light; they do not need to see so they are blind just like other animals that live underground like the mole , they do not have pigmentation, they appear transparent since they do not need to protect themselves from the sun’s rays . In addition, in the case of insects, the wings are very small or welded to the body and the sensory organs are more enlarged.
Troglófilos : Animals that live in the caves but that can also be found outside. Scorpions , worms, and various species of insects belong to this group. These species spend long periods inside the cave and can spend their time of lethargy in them, they can reproduce inside the cave and feed on animals that come from outside, although sometimes they leave the cave to feed.
Trogloxenos : Animals that spend part of their life cycle in caves but leave them to find food. Mosquitoes and spiders are part of this group, although the best known trogloxenic animals are bats which, due to their special characteristics, deserve a separate chapter.