Cave Ecology pp 369-381 | Cite as

Researches in Lava Tubes

  • Pedro Oromí
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 235)


The different characteristics of three lava tubes in Tenerife, Canary Islands, are analysed. Cueva del Viento-Sobrado, Cueva de Felipe Reventón and Cueva de los Roques were formed by an eruption of Pico Viejo volcano 27,000 years ago. Geological features of this basaltic lava flow and special topographic aspects of its caves are explained. Ecological traits of lava tubes in general are considered, noting the importance for the cave-dwelling animal community of the plant roots that reach them. The present successional state and conservation status of the three lava tubes are also discussed. Two of the caves are among the world’s richest caves in troglobionts and are the most diverse of known volcanic caves. A list of the 50 troglobiont species found in these caves is provided, with information on their taxonomy and trophic roles and the existence of related epigean species. Finally, the possible alternative hypotheses for the origin of the troglobionts of Tenerife are commented.



I am indebted to Juan S. Socorro for his pictures of the caves and for comments on geology, to Antonio J. Pérez for his collaboration studying Los Roques cave fauna, to Ángel Vera for an original drawing, to Heriberto López for his arrangements on some figures and to Philip Ashmole for revising the text and the English version. Most of the information included herein is due to the task of all GIET members along many years surveying lava tubes and studying their fauna.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of La LagunaTenerifeSpain

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