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The microcrustacean fauna of rheocrene and rheo-limnocrene springs in a protected area of the northern Apennines (Italy) was investigated for the first time. All springs are located in the catchments of the rivers Parma and Enza at altitudes between 800 and 1609 m a.s.l. Several of these springs are still in pristine condition while others are artificially modified or impacted to some degree. Surveys were carried out from April to June 2007. The sampling methods used for invertebrate fauna were: moss washing, artificial traps, and inserting drift tubes at the discharge point. A total of 14 harpacticoid, five cyclopoid, and 13 ostracod taxa were identified. Ostracods were mainly represented by crenophilic taxa; of particular interest was the collection of a specimen belonging to Pseudolimnocythere, a stygobiont genus with only two living species and a reduced distribution. Faunal affinities between northern Apenninic springs and those in other Italian mountain systems are discussed. The investigated ecosystems support a high microcrustacean diversity that must be adequately preserved due to the increasing direct and indirect impacts on mountain springs and groundwater resources.
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