SSC Groups

Cave Invertebrate Specialist Group

Co-Chairs: Tony Whitten & Louis Deharveng

Whip scorpion


Our aim is to conserve the karst limestone and cave systems and fill in one of the largest gaps in conservation biology – invertebrates! 

The majority of caves are found in limestone rock. The cave environment can be divided into the twilight zone near the cave entrance, the transition zone beyond that, and the deep zone. This is completely dark and has almost constant 100% humidity and constant temperature. This is the home of fully cave-adapted species which never venture outside the cave. Many of the animals living permanently in caves are highly range-restricted endemics incapable of dispersing to other sites. Many have evolved to become blind, wingless, pigmentless etc. and some have a very slow metabolism. They are thus very susceptible to changes in their habitats and hence possibly extinction.

Key activities include red list and building a comprehensive database of cave dwelling and karst organisms, working with cement and limestone mining industries on Environmental Impact Assessments, providing taxonomic and ecological expertise, awareness raising and conservation planning.

We carry out red list assessments, surveys and exploration of caves and karst limestone features for biodiversity, seek to provide a better understanding of undiscovered biodiversity and interested in conservation of these unique and amazing species


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