Journal Article

The Towakkalak System, a hotspot of subterranean biodiversity in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Deharveng, L., Rahmadi, C., Suhardjono, Y.R. and Bedos, A.

Record Number:
13, 392
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Abstract: The Towakkalak System located in the Maros karst of South Sulawesi is currently the richest of Southeast Asia in obligate subterranean species. It comprises several caves and shafts that give access to the subterranean Towakkalak river as well as many unconnected fossil caves, stream sinks, and springs located within its footprint. The total length of the caves linked to the active system is 24,319 m and comprises two of the longest caves of Indonesia, Gua Salukkan Kallang and Gua Tanette. Studies of its fauna began in 1985. There are 10 stygobionts and 26 troglobionts that are known from the system. The smaller adjacent system of Saripa has 6 stygobionts and 18 troglobionts, of which 1 and 3, respectively, are absent from Towakkalak. Like all tropical cave inventories, our dataset has limits due to identification uncertainties, gaps in habitat (waters, guano) and taxonomic coverage (micro-crustaceans, mites), sampling methods (pitfall trapping, Karaman–Chappuis), and problems of ecological assignment. A number of additional species are therefore expected to be found in the future. The Towakkalak and Saripa cave systems are included in the Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park and are under efficient protection, but parts of the Maros karst outside the park are under serious threat, mainly from quarrying. Keywords: cave biology; stygobionts; troglobionts; hotspot cave; sampling biases; Southeast Asia
Times Cited:
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