Of all the strange animals on this planet, the centipedes are probably some of the creepiest creatures on the planet, at least for some people. Their multitude of legs can make the skin crawl of the bravest ones out there. Scientists announced the recent discovery of a new species of centipede deep in the caves of Croatia. The creature was named Hades, after the Greek god of the underworld, because it lives deep in the underground.
The new species of centipede is called Geophilus hadesi and is known to feed on smaller invertebrates, like worms, spiders and different larvae. Hades, the “centipede from Hell”, as the researchers nicknamed it, belongs to a group of insects called geophilomorphs which don’t usually live deep in caves. But the new species of centipede is one of two species of geophilomorphs that live most of their lives hidden deep in underground caves. The other species of centipede that also lives in caves is called Persephone, after the Greek goddess of the underworld.
The creatures were discovered by a team of researchers from the Croatian Biospeleological Society living in three caves, more than 3,600 feet beneath the ground in Croatian caves. According to them, this is the first time they encounter a centipede that lives so deep in the underground. The scientists described the new species of arthropod as having long claws which it uses to catch the prey and hold on to it while eating it. The centipede has strong poisonous jaws for biting its prey into submission, and its body is made of several appendages and segments that are covered in a kind of body hair known as setae. The multi-legged creatures have long antennae which they use to detect their prey in dark environments in which they spend their existence.
Pavel Stoev, one of the researchers who discovered the new species of centipede, said that when he first saw the creature and how striking it looked, he knew it was a previously unknown species that is very adapted to living deep under the ground. Stoev added that this newly discovered creature proves how little is known about life in the underground, especially in caves.
According to the authors of the study, the centipede was found under the Velebit mountain inside some of the deepest caves in the world.
The researchers talked about the new species of centipede in the new edition of the journal ZooKeys.
Image Source: livescience