Conference Paper

The fauna of the Al Hoota Cave in Northern Oman

Kruckenhauser, L., Reginald, V. and Sattmann, H.

Record Number:
3897
Year:
2016
Abstract:
The Al Hoota Cave System has a length of 5 km and several connected subterraneous lakes, it is situated in the in the Western Al Hajar Mountains of the Northern Oman. Due to its exceptional wealth of dripstones and numerous underground lakes, it was developed as a show cave from 2001 – 2006. The cave is of Plio-Pleistocene age, roughly one to three million years old. The most sensational faunal element of the Al Hoota cave is a population of Garra barreimiae FOWLER & STEINITZ, 1956 which was discovered in 1980. G. barreimiae is a cyprinid fish endemic to the southeastern Arabian Peninsula. Individuals of the cave population exhibit a typical troglomorphic phenotype with no pigmentation and lack of externally visible eyes. Surface populations of this species live in the surrounding wadis. Genetic analyses showed that the cave population is genetically isolated from the surface, but there is also an indication for geneflow from the cave to the surface (Kruckenhauser et al. 2011). Some of the individuals we collected on the surface exhibit an intermediate phenotype, with eyes and pigmentation reduced at different stages (see also abstract by Kirchner et al.). Other vertebrates which could be found in the Al Hoota cave system are the Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus), the Muscat mouse-tailed bat (Rhinopoma muscatellum), and a gecko species of the genus Ptyodactylus most probably P. orlovi. Two species which has been described from specimens from the Al Hoota Cave are the Al Hoota Hunting Spider, Spariolenus secundus JÄGER, 2006 from the family Sparassidae and the gastropod Gulella protruda NEUBERT & FRANK, 1996 from the family of Streptaxidae. Also several beetles can be found in the waterbodies of the cave, one species Hydraena putearius JÄCH & DIAS, 2000 has been described in the Oman.
Times Cited:
1
Conference Name:
23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology
Conference Year:
2016
Conference Location:
2016
Conference Location:
2016
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