New cave-dwelling arachnids discovered in Brazil

May 22, 2013
This image shows Rowlandius ubajara sp.nov., female from Ubajara, Ceara, Brazil. Credit: PLoS ONE 8(5): e63616. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063616

Two new species of cave-dwelling short-tailed whipscorpions have been discovered in northeastern Brazil, and are described in research published May 22 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Adalberto Santos, from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and colleagues.

The reddish-brown short-tailed whipscorpions inhabit cool, humid limestone caves in an otherwise arid region. Both new species, Rowlandius ubajara and Rowlandius potiguara, were found deep within the , which are also home to bats. Bat guano and seed deposits harbor springtails and other small insects which are likely to serve as prey to these arachnids.

Both species were found only within the caves but there is little indication that they have adapted exclusively to life in darkness. Though specimens of both species lack eye spots, the authors clarify that this is a common trait in short-tailed whipscorpions, since the group does not rely heavily on visual information to survive. The authors conclude that it may not be uncommon to find them outside caves, and only further studies outside these caves will confirm the extent to which these new species may have adapted to become exclusive .

Explore further: 'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

More information: Santos AJ, Ferreira RL, Buzatto BA (2013) Two New Cave-Dwelling Species of the Short-Tailed Whipscorpion Genus Rowlandius (Arachnida: Schizomida: Hubbardiidae) from Northeastern Brazil, with Comments on Male Dimorphism. PLOS ONE 8(5): e63616. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063616

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cave dwelling nettle discovered in China

Dec 28, 2012

South West China, Myanmar and Northern Vietnam contain one of the oldest exposed outcrops of limestone in the world. Within this area are thousands of caves and gorges. It is only recently that botanists ...

World's first eyeless huntsman spider discovered

Aug 09, 2012

A scientist from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt has discovered the first eyeless huntsman spider in the world. The accompanying study has been published by the scientific journal Zootaxa.

Delving into darkness to discover new species

Jul 30, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Deep in the recesses of a northwestern Arizona cave, a beetle scuttles along the floor, navigating its way with its long antennae as hair-like tufts on its slender legs drag across the rocks.

Recommended for you

'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

15 hours ago

The classic definition of a biological species is the ability to breed within its group, and the inability to breed outside it. For instance, breeding a horse and a donkey may result in a live mule offspring, ...

Rare Sri Lankan leopards born in French zoo

18 hours ago

Two rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs have been born in a zoo in northern France, a boost for a sub-species that numbers only about 700 in the wild, the head of the facility said Tuesday.

Researcher reveals how amphibians crossed continents

20 hours ago

There are more than 7,000 known species of amphibians that can be found in nearly every type of ecosystem on six continents. But there have been few attempts to understand exactly when and how frogs, toads, ...

User comments : 0