Centipede of the Deep Discovered by Cavers
Living deep below the earth’s surface, it was only logical to name this new species “Hades.” Discovered by cavers in Croatia – a land of endless caverns – this newly discovered creature is an insect not unfamiliar in most parts of the world: a type of centipede.
But this small, multi-legged bug is no average centipede. The Geophilus hadesi lives up to 3,600 feet below ground in a harsh and mostly lifeless environment. Only one other species of centipede traverses these dark passageways for its whole life.
Carrying poison glands and a powerful set of jaws, the Hades is a successful predator. But what is there to eat when you are hundreds of meters below the surface? Hades is part of a group of species called geophilomorphs, who occasionally breach the surface to eat, yet this variety never leaves the darkness.
Insects and other animals do fall into caves periodically, and some creatures enter caves for shelter or moisture. The centipede lives among a variety of other periodic subterranean bugs as well.
Like other cave-dwelling life forms, the Hades has developed specialized anatomical features. Its antennae are extra long to feel its way through passages. The body is segmented, and it has claws to hold to vertical surfaces.
Hades measures in at only about an inch, and was discovered by a team of cavers from the Croatian Biospeliological Society, who were exploring a cave system in the Velebit mountain range.