A team of scientists has recently discovered a new species of centipede deep in the caves of Croatia’s Velebit Mountains. The ones who discovered the multi-legged creature named it Hades, after the mythological Greek ruler of the underworld. The scientific name of the Hades centipede is Geophilus hadesi and it belongs to the group known as Geophilomorpha.
According to the experts, the newly found species of centipede, unlike others from the Geophilomorpha, spends its entire life in the deep, dark, cold underground. The creature was described in details in the journal ZooKeys which appeared on June 30.
Researchers say that this critter is one of two known species of centipedes that spend all their time underground. The other species that never leaves the caves is called Geophilus persephones, which was discovered in the 1990s in a cave from France. The centipede got its name from Persephone, the goddess of the underworld.
Pavel Stoev, zoologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia, Bulgaria, and one of the lead authors of the study, said that they named the newly found species of creepy crawler thinking about the god of the underworld, Hades. According to Stoev, this centipede lives approximately 1 km below the surface of the Earth, and although it’s very dark and cold in its underground home, the creature is doing just fine.
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. Using the antennae and the hair, the centipede is capable of detecting its food in complete darkness.
Like most species of centipedes, Hades preys and eats living creatures and its diet consists mainly of larvae, worms, hexapods, small spiders, woodlice, etc. Its bite is venomous, but harmless for humans, Stoev said.
The centipede was discovered by a team of researchers from the Croatian Biospeleogical Society who went exploring the Velebit Mountains of Croatia. According to them, one of the specimens was found at a depth of more than 3,600 feet.
The Hades centipede has a flat body, which makes it easier to crawl under crevices. It’s equipped with 33 pairs of legs that end in thin, long claws, which they use to cling to the walls of the caves they live in.
Stove writes in his paper that the Hades centipede is well adapted to the cold temperatures of the cave, which can drop to 3 degrees Celsius.
Image Source: cbc