Mysterious insect-like creatures found in cave Mestrago


Three unusual springtails, tiny insect-like creatures have been found in the Spanish cave Mestrago. All three species are significantly different from each other and have the following names: Pygmarrhopalites maestrazgoensis, P. cantavetulae and Oncopodura fadriquei.

Springtails - is one of the oldest and most widely distributed species of animals living on Earth. As with insects, they have six legs but no wings. They are very small and are more primitive in its structure, which also usually includes a tail that resembles a bidentate forks they use to run away from danger, hence the name "springtail." Many species are difficult to see with the naked eye, the length of individual species is the largest of 6 mm.

Externally, this new species is characterized by an elastic tail and a small body covered with hairs, making them look like microscopic monsters. One of the species (O. fadriquei) no eyes.

Springtails were discovered by researchers from the University of Navarre in an isolated cave Mestrago, which is located in Teruel (Spain), at an altitude of almost 2000 meters. Outside the cave, winter temperatures reach minus 40 degrees Celsius. Inside the cave temperature is between 5 and 11 degrees Celsius.

The scientists plan to conduct research to understand how these things adapt to living in caves, where it is cold and damp, and no light is transmitted in an article in Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Like other animals, adapted to the conditions of the cave, springtails, you must have a large chemical sensitivity, as they can not use their vision in the absence of light" - said Enrique Baquero (Enrique Baquero) of the University of Navarra.

"The study of the fauna in the caves allows us to expand our knowledge about biodiversity" - said Baquero. "As for the three new species, we have found in Teruel, are organisms that have remained completely isolated for thousands of years. Presence of their relatives living in the sun means that they act like relics from the past that have experienced climate change, which occurred outside the cave."

A new species is described in the analysis, published in the October issue of the journal Zootaxa.

Original Translation M. Potter

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