A team of international researchers from the Croatian Biospeleological Society have found a centipede that lives at 3609 feet (1100 meters) beneath the surface of Croatia, in the Velebit Mountains.
They’ve appropriately named it Geophilus Hadesi, a reference to Hades, the Greek god of the Underworld, as the centipede is deepest dwelling creature to be discovered so far. It lives in dark caves feeds on several other invertebrates (larvae, worms, spiders, springtails) due to the fact that, like all monsters, Hades is a carnivore too.
The centipede species is the second to be found living exclusively in underground caves, with the first one being named Persephone, a reference to the Greek queen of Hell, and found in France sometime in the 1990s. They both belong to the order Geophilomorpha, although they stand out as all of the species in the order only occasionally spend time living in underhand caves.
Pavel Stoev, lead author and associate professor specialized in zoology from the National Museum of Natural History (Sofia, Bulgaria), gave a statement to Live Science informing that Hades has unusually elongated antennae and that its appendages are covered in body hair resembling fur, both features which aloe the creepy crawler to detect food in the dark.
He went in to inform that Hades has a flat body which makes it easier for the centipede to move around in its habitat, sports no less than 33 pairs of legs, all which end in claws, that just like the creatures’ antennae, are also unusually long, and powerful jaws. On top of everything, the nightmarish being benefits from a venomous bite that professor Stoev is quick to point out is most likely harmless to human beings. Most likely.
Hades is considered to be one of the top predators in its natural habitat and the lead author was impressed with it right away, saying that when he saw the animal for the first time, he was immediately struck by its appearance and he immediately knew “that this is a new, hitherto unnamed and highly adapted to cave environment species”.
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, amazing animals can even be found in the in the best prospected areas.
Published earlier this week, on Tuesday (June 30, 2015), in the journal ZooKeys.
Image Source: cbc.ca