Meet Sméagol, the eyeless cave-dwelling daddy long-legs

时间:2019-02-27 03:20:01166网络整理admin

By Sam Wong It’s ghostly pale, has no eyes and never leaves its underground home. Meet Iandumoema smeagol, a new species of harvestman named after the Lord of the Rings character who was later known as Gollum. The harvestman was discovered in a limestone cave in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais by Ricardo Pinto-da-Rocha at the University of São Paulo and colleagues at the Federal University of São Carlos. Unlike related species that come above ground to feed or mate, I. smeagol has adapted to a completely subterranean lifestyle by losing its eyes and pigmentation. Fourteen have been observed so far, one of them scavenging for invertebrate carcasses. They stick close to a stream, apparently preferring the wet cave walls. Its discoverers believe it is only found in a small area and could be under threat from human activities such as deforestation, the installation of small hydroelectric dams nearby and limestone extraction for cement production near the cave. Harvestmen, sometimes called daddy long-legs, are arachnids. They are distinguished from spiders by their fused body regions and the fact that, unlike spiders, male harvestmen have a penis. Journal reference: ZooKeys, DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.537.6073 Read more: “Bizarre animals that are new to science” Read more: “A killer in the bat cave” Image credits, from top: MSc. Rafael Fonseca-Ferreira; Dr. Maria Elina Bichuette More on these topics: