Hypogeous fauna

Subterranean fauna is numerous and diversified, but is affected by the extreme conditions of an environment where no direct sunlight arrives: darkness, high humidity, and low and constant temperatures require remarkable features to be tolerated.
Here, the scene is dominated by arachnids, crustaceans, myriapods, insects and other arthropods with noteworthy adaptations: the most specialized lost their eyes and the colour of their integument, developing instead long appendices, antennae, hairs and legs; these appendices are used to explore the deep darkness where they live.
Bats (properly called Chiropterans) are usually associated to the caves in people’s imagination. Bats have less adaptations to the hypogeous environment, that is used to rest during daytime and to hibernate in winter. By doing so, bats bring underground precious substances used by the true inhabitants, which learnt to exploit every source of food coming from the “above” world.

The sheets of the fauna follow an evolutionary order (from planarians to chiropterans) including the most adapted species of hypogeous fauna of the Western Alps. The degree of adaptation to the underground life is didactically indicated by the terms “troglobiont (troglobio)”, "troglophile (troglofilo)" and "trogloxene (troglosseno)", from organisms that live their whole life underground, to the ones that use underground habitats by chance or as a temporary refuge to external hardships (droughts, cold, etc), bringing in even more trophic sources to the inhabitants of darkness.
The most representative groups are spiders of the genus Troglohyphantes, isopod and amphipod crustaceans and the coleopterans of the subfamilies Trechinae and Leptodirinae.
Digiting these names or parts of them in the search function, the species belonging to the group will be listed. Each species sheet provides a complete description of the systematic group and of the species distribution on the territory.
In the bibliographic section the main publications regarding subterranean fauna of Piemonte and Valle d’Aosta are cited. The list of species treated in each publication is reported in the publication sheet. Nomenclature (families, genera and names of the species) of the Fauna Section is updated according to the most recent studies and discoveries; the names in the publications could therefore differ from those indicated in the site.