This is a photo of Geophilus hadesi, a centipede found in caves that reach 4,7000 feet underground. The bug-phobic have every right to do a full body shudder right now.
Scientists found the centipede in the caves of the Velebit Mountains in Croatia. Four were found, although only three were collected as samples. They were found in two different caves, but in similar conditions. According to the description of the creature published in ZooKeys, this evidence shows a “highly adapted cave animal.”
In order to live 3,600 feet below the surface of the Earth — where one sample was found — the Hades centipede is able to live in temperatures as low as 37 degrees Fahrenheit, detect prey in the darkness, and has “unusually long” thin claws to cling to the rock. Lead author Pavel Stoev told
Live Science, “The change of a species’ appearance is usually a result of a long evolution that is likely to have happened [over] the course of millions of years.”
G. hadesi’s name is both a reference to a god of the underworld and a cute pairing with the only other known centipede to live its whole life in a cave. Explain researchers in the ZooKeys description:
The specific epithet derives from Hades, god of the underworld in Greek mythology and husband of Persephone, in analogy with the name of the only other known troglobite in the genus.
No word on whether or not Geophilus persephones lives in caves because of some pomegranate seeds. Also, the naming is so apt it doesn’t matter that Persephone famously only lives in the Underworld for half the year.
[via Discovery News]
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Image Credit: J. Bedek