Hades Centipede Discovered in the Deepest, Darkest Caves of Croatia

KS Strange ScienceIn Greek mythology Hades is god of theĀ dead and king of the underworld. Now, Hades isĀ the deepest cave-dwelling centipede known to man.

Hades Centipede
The Hades centipede (Geophilus hadesi) – named after the god of the underworld. IMAGE: J. Bedek

Geophilus hadesi, better known as the Hades centipede, lives in threeĀ caves in Croatia’s Velebit mountains.Ā Scientists collected three specimens of the Hades centipede at different depths in the caves and spotted one at a shocking 3,600 feetĀ below the surface.

Members of theĀ CroatianĀ BiospeleologicalĀ SocietyĀ discoveredĀ the centipede and published their findings in the journal ZooKeys.

Unlike most species of centipede, which occasionally take shelter in caves, Hades spends all of itsĀ life underground and has learned to adapt. The centipede has “exceptionally elongated antennae, trunk segments and leg claws.” This makes Hades one of the cave’s top predators šŸ›

“When I first saw the animal and its striking appearance, I immediately realized that this is a new, hitherto unnamed and highly adaptedĀ to cave environment species,” said Pavel Stoev, the study’s lead author, in a statement.Ā “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.”

But, Hades isn’t alone! According to mythology,Ā Hades is not only ruler of the underworld, he is also husband toĀ Persephone. Geophilus persephones (named after Persephone, queen of the underworld)Ā is the only other known cave-dwelling centipede. A match made in hell ā¤ļø

Hades - Hercules

Hades Centipede Discovered in the Deepest, Darkest Caves of Croatia

Seven New Teeny Tiny Mini-Frogs Discovered in Brazil – Some are the Smallest Ever

KS Nature

These newly discovered mini-frogs are so small they barely fit on your fingernail – but, they do come in some flashy colors!

BrachycephalusĀ (Anura: Brachycephalidae) is a remarkable genus of miniaturized frogs that call theĀ Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest home. The firstĀ BrachycephalusĀ species was foundĀ in 1824, but most of the species have been discovered over the past 15 years.

The seven new species live on seven distinct mountaintops in south eastern Brazil. Their habitats are known as ‘cloud forests.’ Each species is cut off from one another due to dips and valleys with varying climates that act as environmental barriers.

Brachycephalus areĀ a group of frogs known for their bright colors and miniscule sizeĀ – some are theĀ smallest terrestrial vertebrates on record (less than 1cm). Their tiny frog anatomy has shrunk to their size, but one thing has changed. These amphibiansĀ typically have three toes and two fingers, instead of the five toes and four fingers found in most frogs.

Their skin is what sets them apart. They vary in color and texture; some are rough and bumpy, while others are quite smooth. Their bright colors alert predators to the poisonous toxins in their skin.Ā Those with brighter colors often reflectĀ higher levels of the deadly chemical tetrodotoxin.

The severeĀ isolation experienced by these frogs has produced 21 known species ofĀ BrachycephalusĀ – and a new study has pushed that count to 28.

Brachycephalus comes in a variety of bright colors IMAGE: MARCIO R. PIE, CC BY SA
Brachycephalus comes in a variety of bright colors IMAGE: MARCIO R. PIE, CC BY SA

Marcio Pie, a professor at the Universidade Federal do ParanĆ” in Brazil, led researchersĀ into the remote misty rainforest inĀ search ofĀ these tiny critters. Following extensive fieldwork, treacherous hikes, and hours of sifting through dirt and leaves, they found a surprising seven new species ofĀ Brachycephalus!

Marcio Pie’sĀ findings were published June 4 in theĀ journalĀ PeerJ.

Seven New Teeny Tiny Mini-Frogs Discovered in Brazil – Some are the Smallest Ever