Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Two new palpigrades: Eukoenenia jequitinhonha and Eukoenenia cavatica

Eukoenenia cavatica
A palpigrade, also known as a microwhip scorpion, is a distant relative of the spiders, mites, and scorpions. They are tiny organisms not larger than 3 mm and live in wet tropical and subtropical soils or caves and underground spaces. They need a damp environment to survive, and they always hide from light, so they are commonly found in the moist earth under buried stones and rocks.

Both new species were found in caves in Brazil. One was named after the Jequitinhonha river, in whose drainage basin the animals were found. The other species name is Latin and  stands for living in a cave.

For the experts: Two new species of troglobiotic Brazilian palpigrades are described: Eukoenenia jequitinhonha sp. n., found in Lapa do Córrego do Vieira cave (Caraí, Minas Gerais) and E. cavatica sp. n., found in Cazanga cave (Arcos, Minas Gerais). The importance of documenting the occurrence of troglobiotic species, even if they are represented by only a single specimen, is discussed.

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