Named after the mythical god of the underworld ‘Hades’ this a new type of cave dwelling centipede was discovered under Velebit, a massive mountain that stretches over 90 miles in the Dinaric Karst. This region contains the Lukina jama – Trojama cave system, which runs to 4,700 feet beneath the ground and is the 15th deepest cave in the world. Biologists are yet to identify and discover all the species that dwell within it.
The centipedes were found in three caves, up to 3,600 feet beneath the surface of the Earth in Coatia, by members of the Croatian Biospeleological Society. This is the deepest any centipede has ever been seen making its home.
It survives by hunting smaller invertebrates – including spiders, worms and larvae of other animals. Geophilus hadesi – is part of of a group called geophilomorphs, which usually only take occasional refuge in caves. Another variety of its kind is named after Persephone, a mythological queen of the underworld.
“When I first saw the animal and its striking appearance, I immediately realized that this is a new, hitherto unnamed and highly adapted to cave environment species. This finding comes to prove once again how little we know about the life in caves, where even in the best prospected areas, one can still find incredible animals,” Pavel Stoev, lead author of a study on the newly discovered creatures, said.
These centipedes have long curved claws, capable of grasping onto prey, and powerful jaws equipped with poison for dispatching their catch. Their bodies are composed of several segments, and appendages are covered in furlike body hair called setae. The creatures also feature long antennae, which along with the setae, help the animals find their prey in the dark subterranean conditions in which they live.