Series: Monografie di Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino Volume: 47
325 pages, colour & photos, b/w line drawings, colour distribution maps
Language: Bilingual in English and Italian
Subterranean Arachnids of the Western Italian Alps illustrates in detail the subterranean arachnological fauna (mites and scorpions excluded) of the Western Italian Alps. For each taxon we provide the information useful for the identification, the chorotype, the map and the list of the known subterranean localities in the Western Italian Alps, the illustrations (mostly original) of the diagnostic features and several pictures taken in their habitat. We considered 75 species of spiders, 14 opilionids, 2 palpigrads, and 14 pseudoscorpions. Data are gathered from literature and from the intensive fieldwork (2005-2010) performed by the authors.
If we consider the taxa most related to the subterranean habitat, the troglophilic elements are 28 (20 spiders, 6 opilionids, and 2 pseudoscorpions) and the subterranean specialized are 12 (4 spiders, 2 palpigrads, and 6 pseudoscorpions). Altogether we surveyed 361 subterranean cavities, mostly located in the province of Cuneo (170), followed by Turin (66), Biella (37), Vercelli (30), Aosta (21), Novara (18), Verbania (14), and Alessandria (5). The southern part of the Western Alps (Maritime and Ligurian Alps) stands out as a real biodiversity hot-spot. Some considerations on the current state of conservation of the caves of the Western Italian Alps are also provided. Nearly one third of the recorded caves are included in Protected Areas, but despite the presence of extraordinary bio-coenosis (not only from and arachnological point of view), several caves remain unprotected.
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