Proasellus cavaticus (Leydig, 1871)


Asellus cavaticus Leydig, 1871
Asellus cavaticus Schiödte, 1871


GB IUCN status: Least Concern
GB rarity status: Nationally Scarce

ID Difficulty


This species is distinguished from other British Asellids by entirely lacking eyes and pigmentation. However, care is needed since some underground populations of Asellus aquaticus may entirely lack pigmentation.  The shape of the male first pereopod is diagnostic.

Distribution and Habitat

P. cavaticus is unique among British Isopods in being a specialist stygobite (i.e. entirely associated with subterranean aquatic habitats). It appears to be restricted to southern areas, with the majority of records from carboniferous limestone cave systems in the Mendip Hills and South Wales.
It is typically recorded from underground streams, pools and wet surfaces in limestone caves and mines, where it tends to occur in small numbers in water films covering flowstones, within small seepages or in shallow pools.
This species is also covered by the Hypogean Crustacea Recording Scheme.



Gregory, S. (2009) Woodlice and Waterlice (Isopoda: Oniscidea & Asellota) in Britain and Ireland.  Field Studies Council/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.



BRC Code