- Last updated on 1999.12.29 by Frans Janssens
Checklist of the Collembola: Some notes on cave dwelling Collembola from Belgium

Wim Jacobs, University of Antwerp *, RUCA-campus, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp, Belgium
Frans Janssens, Nachtegaallaan 12 bus 12, B-2660 Hoboken, Belgium
Luc De Bruyn, University of Antwerp *, RUCA-campus, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp, Belgium
Hans Henderickx, Hemelrijkstraat 4, B-2400 Mol, Belgium
* Department Biology, Evolutionary Biology


Collembola were collected in two caves in Rochefort, in the southern part of Belgium. All together, 17 specimens were collected that belong to four species.


Collembola werden verzameld in twee grotten in Rochefort, in het zuiden van België. In totaal werden 17 exemplaren gevonden die behoren tot 4 soorten.

Keywords: cave Collembola, troglophilic, faunistics, Belgium


Caves are very interesting from a biogeographical point of view as they provide refugia during glaciations and are home to relict species. Recent work divides cave Collembola into three main categories: troglobites, which are only found in caves, troglophiles, which live in caves, soils and related environments and trogloxenes which are only occasionally found in caves and do not normally live there (Hopkin, 1997 and refs. therein).

The history of the Belgian research on cave dwelling Collembola began with Willem (1902) who described several Collembola collected in the caves of Han and Rochefort. Also Denis (1937) collected Collembola and other 'Apterygota' in the 'Grotte de Goyet'. Leruth (1936, 1939) did not confine his searches to 'Apterygota' in one cave and collected many other taxa in a whole range of caves. More than 30 years later, Delhez & Kersmakers (1973) made a faunistic inventory of the 'Grotte du Pré-au-Tonneau' and found a total of 7 collembolan species.

Material and methods

Table I. Overview of collected material
Ordo Poduromorpha Börner, 1913
Familia Hypogastruridae Börner, 1906
Schaefferia Absolon, 1900 willemi (Bonet, 1930) Gisin, 1960
BE1Nam2RochefortFR551998.05.221a3Henderickx HJacobs W & Janssens FKAVE4
Ordo Entomobryomorpha Börner, 1913
Familia Entomobryidae Schött, 1891
Heteromurus Wankel, 1860 nitidus (Templeton, 1835) Handschin, 1929
BENamRochefortFR551997.10.251aHenderickx HJacobs WKAVE
BENamRochefortFR551998.05.227aHenderickx HJanssens FKAVE
Lepidocyrtus Bourlet, 1839 curvicollis (Bourlet, 1839) Bourlet, 1841
BENamRochefortFR551997.10.051aHenderickx HJacobs W & Janssens FKAVE
BENamRochefortFR551997.10.254a1j5Henderickx HJacobs W & Janssens FKAVE
BENamRochefortFR551998.05.211aHenderickx HJanssens FKAVE
Familia Tomoceridae Schäffer, 1896
Tomocerus Nicolet, 1842 minor (Lubbock, 1862) Schäffer, 1900
BENamRochefortFR551997.10.251aHenderickx HJanssens FKAVE

1 BE=Belgium; 2 Nam=Namur; 3 a=adult; 4 KAVE=Koninklijke Antwerpse Vereniging voor Entomologie; 5 j=juvenile

Collembola were collected by Hans Henderickx in two caves: 'Grotte du Pré-au-Tonneau' (1997.10.05, 1997.10.25 and 1998.05.21) and 'Grotte de Lorette' (1997.10.25 and 1998.05.22 (Salle du Cataclysme)) in Rochefort (south of Belgium). The specimens of the Grotte du Pré-au-Tonneau were captured at 10 m depth in a moist bypass covered with clay pellets and in the 'Galerie glasieuse' that has also been visited by Delhez & Kersmakers (1973).

Collections were made using a powerful hand vacuum cleaner. Additionally, Collembola were collected by hand under previously placed pieces of bark and stones. They were stored in 96% ethanol and identified based on the keys of Gisin (1960), Fjellberg (1980) and Palissa (1964). The specimens are stored in the collection of the Royal Entomological Society of Antwerp.


In total, 17 specimens were collected divided among 4 species. The ecology and the cave habitat affinity is shortly discussed for the three species.

Schaefferia willemi (Bonet, 1930) was found by Willem in 1902 and described by him as Octomma longispina.
One specimen (a male of 0.8mm) was found in the 'Grotte de Lorette' in the 'Salle du Cataclysme' on 1998.05.22.

Heteromurus nitidus Templeton, 1835 is a troglophilic species that is also found in wet meadows (Gisin, 1960) and mull-humus profiles with pH-values higher than 5 (Ponge, 1983). It is found throughout Europe (Gisin, 1960). One specimen was found in the 'Grotte de Lorette' on 1997.10.05 and another 7 specimens were found in the same cave in the 'Salle du Cataclysme' on 1998.05.22.

Of Lepidocyrtus curvicollis Bourlet, 1839, 7 white specimens were found in the 'Grotte du Pré-au-Tonneau': 1997.10.05: 1 ex., 1997.10.25: 5 ex. and 1998.05.21: 1 ex.).
Note: Willem (1902) described a white Lepidocyrtus börneri(sic) nov. spec. from the caves of Han and Rochefort, closely related to Lepidocyrtus paradoxus and Lepidocyrtus insignis. Based upon the recently found specimens of Lepidocyrtus curvicollis we will show evidence in a separate publication (in prep.) for the temptative synonymy of Lepidocyrtus börneri(sic) with Lepidocyrtus curvicollis by Leruth (1939:199), that was also adopted by Gisin (1964:661,662).

Tomocerus minor (Lubbock, 1862) is a hygrophilic and troglophilic (Kopeszki & Meyer, 1996) species that has also been collected in a previous faunistic study in the 'Grotte du Pré-au-Tonneau' (Delhez & Kersmakers, 1973). It is also found in forests with a moist mull humus profile (Ponge, 1983, 1993). It is a holarctic species (Kopeszki & Meyer, 1996). Hans Henderickx collected 1 specimen in the 'Grotte du Pré-au-Tonneau'.


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