Two New Species Found in Grand Canyon Cave

In a cave on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, never-before-seen creatures were found that resembled scorpions. They had no eyes and no stingers.
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A new species of cave-adapted pseudoscorpion, Hesperochernes bradybaughi. Photo courtesy of J. Judson Wynne, Northern Arizona University

A new species of cave-adapted pseudoscorpion, Hesperochernes bradybaughi. Photo courtesy of J. Judson Wynne, Northern Arizona University

In a cave on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, never-before-seen creatures were found that resembled scorpions. But they're not scorpions. They don't have a venomous stinger, and they don't have eyes. The aptly named "pseudoscorpions" live in total darkness, so the eyes apparently were not a necessity as they evolved.

J. Judson Wynne from the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University told Live Science, "The tiny cave where the team discovered the new species — just 250 feet (76 meters) in length — nevertheless supports the highest diversity of cave-adapted arthropods of any known cave in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument."

The fake scorpions were first discovered in 2005, but it has taken years to verify that they are indeed new species. Co-author of the study Mark Harvey told Live Science, "In this case, the team found that one of the species had a thickened pair of legs and a mound on the pincer, while another had a much deeper pincer than other pseudoscorpions — qualifying each as a distinct species."

Scorpion-like insects have a habit of using their pinchers to grab hold of other animals and hitchhike long distances. This allows them to spread their genes a greater distance and also might explain how the previous desert-living insect evolved into a cave-dweller.

Full Story: http://www.livescience.com/49075-pseudoscorpions-discovered-grand-canyon.html

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