A venomous Centipede A pitch-black poison is the top predator in the cave that has not seen daylight in more than 5.5 million years.
Located in Romania, Movile Cave is 65 feet (20 m) below the surface, and has a warm, moist air Oxygen And thick with poisonous gases, which feed on chemosynthetic bacteria. Yet despite these seemingly hellish conditions, the cave hosts a diverse community of spiders, scorpions and caves as well as spiders, scorpions and other arthropods.
Now, scientists have added a new species to the list: a centipede they named Cryptoplus Spelorex, “Which can be translated to ‘King of the Caves,’ researchers Said in a statement.
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“The king” measures 2 inches (52 millimeters) long, but it is the largest of the cave’s hunter arthropods, “the researchers ruled in their domain with the deadly bite. 16 in the Journal, the researchers reported in a new study. ZooKeys.
Since the discovery of Movile Cave in 1986, few people have discovered its dangerous depth. Air is high in hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia and Carbon Dioxide and oxygen are in short supply, which is as low as 7% in some parts of the cave (average oxygen level is about 21% above average). Although the air temperature is a relatively comfortable 70 ° F (21 ° C), the relative humidity is 100% and the air circulation is close to zero, scientists wrote.
Entering the cave is fraught with danger, with explorers under a long, narrow shaft and through limestone tunnels that eventually open into a main cave with a lake, The BBC reported in 2015. According to the BBC, exploring the rest of the cave system requires diving into the lake and underwater from tight passages – completely in the dark – to feed into mini-caves called Airbnb.
The authors of the study reported that 51 species of invertebrates live in this dark, isolated and poisoned state, of which 34 are found only in the Movile Cave. The newly described cave king, C. Spelorex, It has a brownish-yellow body with pale yellow antennae, and its yellow legs are studded with 13 to 17 “toothed teeth”. As the largest invertebrate predator in the cave ecosystem, it stands at the top of the centipede food chain; Other researchers first saw C. Spelorex Snacking on primitive insects, spiders, beetles and isopods (crustaceans such as shrimp).
Centipedes watch centipedes closely C. Anomalies, Which is found worldwide, and was most similar C. Discrepancies Population in Romania and Serbia. However, some features in the newfound species, such as the longer antenna and more spotted teeth on its feet, indicated that it has unique sensory expertise to help it survive in a light cave.
Researchers’ findings have shown that Movile centipede is “psychologically different” from its terrestrial centipede cousins, “evolving from millions of years of relative living on their nearest ground to a completely new lifetime that develops in life.” Is better adapted for. ” Never ending darkness, ”the scientists said in the statement.
Originally published on Live Science.