An global team of scientists has discovered the deepest underground dwelling centipede. It’s among the cave’s top predators and has poison glands and long, curved claws.
This hellion lives in Croatian caves, and was found more than 3,500 feet deep. Named Geophilus hadesi after the Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, the creature has excited researchers since its discovery.
“Like most cave dwellers, the newly discovered centipede shows unusual traits… including much-elongated antennae, trunk segments and leg claws”, according to Pensoft, the publisher. It is described for the first time by the Croatian Biospeleological Society, in a study published today in the open-access journal ZooKeys.
Centipedes are carnivores which feed on other invertebrates. Species from this order who spend their entire lives in a cave setting are extremely rare.
“When I first saw the animal and its striking appearance, I immediately realized that this is a new, hitherto unnamed … species”, said lead author Pavel Stoev of the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia, in a statement. The centipede got its name from Persephone, the goddess of the underworld.
In fact, so far the Hades and Persephone centipedes are the only two geophilomorphs that have adapted to live exclusively in caves, thus rightfully bearing the titles of a queen and king of the underworld.
The scientists found four specimens of this type of centipede when exploring three caves in the mountains, but they were only able to collect three.
Stoev described the Hades centipede in his study, saying it has very long antennae on its head and fur-like hair on its body, known as setae.
The newly discovered Hades centipede crawls around its underground habitat.
He stresses that the discovery only serves to prove once again just how little the scientific community really knows about the life forms that can be found in underground caves, and that in this environments, fantastic animals can even be found in the in the best prospected areas.
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The newly discovered Hades centipede lives thousands of feet underground. J. Bedek" title="View Related The newly discovered Hades centipede lives thousands of feet underground. J. Bedek"/>