Le grotte marine del salento: classificazione, localizzazione e descrizione


Salento, in the south east of Italy, is a karstic, cave-punctuated peninsula. Erosion of the calcarenitic limestone (which is the main basset of the peninsula) is carrying on from 65 million years. During this time the sea level changed many times reaching 200 m under its actual position, so offering a bigger portion of the limestone to the erosive action of atmospheric waters. Ancient pathways of underground rivers opened along the primitive coast-line when they could erode deeply in the rock. Many of these openings are submerged today and represent one of the most important littoral environments in the region which, in turn, is one of the most important site of marine caves in the Italian peninsula. In particular, the "Neretina" coast (on the Ionian Sea) and the coastline which goes from the "Capo di Leuca" to the "Capo d’otranto" (on the Otranto Channel), are sites with high density of marine caves, (many of them waiting for a first description) none of which had never been studied from an ecological point of view notwithstanding rare works witnessed the faunistic importance of such environments.The present work should like to stimulate researches in this direction by offering the state of art of marine spelaeobiology in Salento peninsula.It reports of the only 53 marine caves which have been numbered and described. The work was supported by the consultation of dozen of papers found with difficulties because their publication age, and their limited diffusion. One of us had personally visited all the cited caves during a period of at least 20 years. The first biologic survey carried out in some submerged caves started only one year ago, but preliminary data already show numerous faunistic novelties either for the Italian peninsula or the entire Mediterranean area.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i15910725v23p67

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