Published report by VSA member Silvana Iannello | Fauna of a granite cave: first data from Britannia Creek Cave (3GP10-48).
There are few studies in Australia on the fauna of granite caves. Britannia Creek Cave is a granite
cave heavily used for recreation yet it has never been mapped nor has the cave fauna been documented. We present here the cave system showing eight ecological zones, A to H, which we mapped,
each with different light and moisture characteristics. The faunal diversity and composition in each
zone is reported using data recorded from three surveys conducted in April, August and October
2015. For all fauna observed, the zone in which it occurred was noted. Taxa were identified to species level or to genus or family where species was unknown. The composition of fauna assemblages
was investigated using Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS). Three taxa, the Raphidophoridae (cave
crickets), Keroplatidae (glowworms) and Araneae (spiders), were most abundant and occurred in all
eight zones. Known cave dwellers, such as Arachnocampa (Campara) gippslandensis
(glowworm) were observed in small isolated clusters in three zones, C, E and H. The highest number of taxa (7) were present in the transition zone B, followed by zone A (6) and a dark zone F (6). Fewest taxa (2) were present in transition zone D. Because there are few publications on the biology of granite caves in Australia, our data can contribute to determining future conservation and land management priorities, especially in regard to recreational use which we also recorded.
Fauna of a granite cave: first data from Britannia Creek Cave (3GP10-48), Wesburn, Victoria, Australia