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New cave-dwelling arachnids discovered in Brazil

Date:
May 22, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Two new species of cave-dwelling short-tailed whipscorpions have been discovered in northeastern Brazil, and are described in new research.

This image shows Rowlandius ubajara sp.nov., female from Ubajara, Ceara, Brazil.
Credit: 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

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.

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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 limestone caves, 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 cave dwellers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Adalberto J. Santos, Rodrigo Lopes Ferreira, Bruno A. Buzatto. 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, 2013; 8 (5): e63616 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063616

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New cave-dwelling arachnids discovered in Brazil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522180309.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, May 22). New cave-dwelling arachnids discovered in Brazil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522180309.htm
Public Library of Science. "New cave-dwelling arachnids discovered in Brazil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522180309.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

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