'The lion of the cave:' new predatory, swimming cricket discovered in Venezuela

Jeremy Hance
August 06, 2012

Tepui, or flat-topped mountain, in Venezuela. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Tepui, or flat-topped mountain, in Venezuela. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

Scientists have discovered what is likely a new species of cricket that is the top predator of its lightless world: a cave in a Venezuelan tepui. The fauna of cave was documented by BBC filmmakers as researchers uncovered not only a large, flesh-eating cricket but a new species of catfish.

"There is an animal perfectly adapted for life as a hunter in pitch darkness. It's got everything it needs," entomologist George McGavin with Oxford University says in the BBC footage. "This is the lion of the cave. This is something you don't want to meet if you're a bug."

The new cricket, which hunts both in land and water, has not been formerly described yet, so it doesn't have a name. Scientists also discovered a new species of catfish and a new harvestman, a type of arachnid, in the cave as well.

The discoveries will be highlighted in BBC's upcoming The Dark: Nature's Nighttime World, although video of the cricket can now be seen on their website.

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Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (August 06, 2012).

'The lion of the cave:' new predatory, swimming cricket discovered in Venezuela.