Prime indicazioni sulle biocenosi associate alle mummie delle Catacombe dei Cappuccini di Palermo

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[automatically translated] The fame of the monastery, built by the Capuchins of Palermo in 1533, is due in large part to the famous "Catacombs." The origin of the catacombs dates back to around 1599, when the monks, using a pre-existing natural cavities beneath the main altar of the church, moved the bodies of 40 previously buried friars at the south side of the church itself. The brothers began to expand the catacombs, digging underground, in relation to the growing number of new bodies that over time were preserved. At present the catacombs are a sort of underground cemetery, in use in the seventeenth century, consisting of tunnels dug into the tuff for an area of about 300 square meters, with about two thousand corpses embalmed. So the catacombs are a unique habitat where ' underground space was from time to time "disturbed" and also enriched with new substrate (bodies, clothes, wooden coffins) for a number of bodies that have given rise to a complex biodiversity. This particular habitat has been and is being studied in order to characterize the biological communities currently found in the catacombs, showing associations with substrates present. Therefore were performed on samples of the remains of mummies where a complex biocenosis was found consists of micro and macro organisms, such as bacteria, cyanobacteria, fungi and different invertebrates, mainly insects. The results of the observations by confocal microscopy (CLSM) and molecular analysis showed the presence of bacteria and cyanobacteria. The arthropods were identified by optical microscope and scanning electron microscope (SEM). In just 3 grams of bone debris they were found parts of specimens of different species of insects, not accidental, mainly scavengers, scavengers and scavenging, belonging to 4 different families of beetles, but also the remains of some predatory beetles. In addition, several puppeteers of Diptera phorids were found, and it was also found a claw pseudo-scorpion and several specimens of mites. From the results it is clear that both the human remains as well mummified both the environmental conditions have given rise to its ecosystem. The remains of mummies in fact represent an exogenous source of food, both at the time of deposition is at a later date, for the different species of organisms present in this particular environment. These bodies may have an unexpected food source, which does not pose resistance to being preyed upon and which is disputed between consumers / degrading competing for similar dietary requirements, on which you establish a trophic network of primary consumers, secondary and tertiary quite complex. The found species seem to remain in a state of equilibrium both with the substrate and with other species competitrici, predators, commensals or parasitic, constituting a real biocenosis. In light of these results it is believed that an in-depth study of this biocenosis can provide useful not only for the restoration and preservation of important cultural property,
Original languageItalian
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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