Washington: Two new species of cave-dwelling short-tailed whipscorpions have been discovered in northeastern Brazil.
The reddish-brown short-tailed whipscorpions inhabit cool, humid limestone caves in an otherwise arid region. Both the 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 harbour springtails and other small insects which are likely to serve as prey to these arachnids, according to researcher Adalberto Santos, from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and colleagues.
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 researchers concluded 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.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.