May 29, 2013
"Schizomids occur mostly in poorly sampled habitats, like the soil leaf litter, termite and ant nests, and caves," the researchers write, noting that these habitats are under-explored in South America. "Subterranean habitats in particular can harbor large schizomid populations, and are a promising source of undescribed species."
Species in the Schizomida order are generally quite small (under one centimeter) and are identified by their short tails, known to scientists as flagellum. Males of each species posses distinct tails, which the females grip during mating.
While both the new species were discovered in limestone caves, the scientists believe they may survive outside caves as well. Even the absence of eye-spots—found in both the new species—does not mean they are cave dependent, since many short-tailed whipscorpions lack eye-spots. More research, however, is needed before their full distribution can be determined.
Male of new species Rowlandius ubajara. Arrows show size differential of pedipalps (appendages) in males and females. Photo by: Santos et al.
Female of new species Rowlandius ubajara. Arrows show size differential of pedipalps (appendages) in males and females. Photo by: Santos et al.
Female of new species Rowlandius potiguara. Photo by: Santos et al.
CITATION: Santos AJ, Ferreira RL, Buzatto BA (2013) Two New Cave-Dwelling Species of the Short-Tailed Whipscorpion Genus Rowlandius (Arachnida: Schizomida: Hubbardiidae) from Northeastern Brazil, with Comments on Male Dimorphism. PLoS ONE 8(5): e63616. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063616
Scientists discover two mini-spiders in China (photos)
(05/23/2013) Scientists have uncovered two miniature spiders living on mountains in China's southern region, one of which is among the smallest spiders recorded worldwide, according to a new paper in ZooKeys. Both spiders belong to the Mysmenidae family, which is made up of mini-spiders with eight eyes.
Three new species of carnivorous snails discovered in endangered habitat in Thailand (photos)
(05/23/2013) Scientists from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and the Natural History Museum, London recently discovered three new species of carnivorous snails in northern Thailand. However, the celebration of these discoveries is tainted by the fact that the new snails are already threatened with extinction due to the destruction of their limestone habitat.
Pictures: Top 10 new species of 2012
(05/23/2013) A glow-in-the-dark cockroach, an insect described from a photo posted on Flickr, a monkey that has been likened to Jesus, a carnivorous sea sponge, and the world's tiniest frog are among the 'top 10' species discovered during 2012, according to global committee of taxonomists.
New prehistoric animal named after Johnny Depp due to its 'scissorhands'
(05/19/2013) Half a billion years after an arthropod with long triple claws roamed the shallow Cambrian seas, scientists have named it after Hollywood movie actor, Johnny Depp: Kooteninchela deppi. Depp, known for his versatility as an actor, played Edward Scissorhands—an artificial man with long scissors for hands—in a popular 1990 film.
Scientists discover new giant mole rat in Africa (photos)
(04/30/2013) Although the term "giant mole rat" may not immediately inspire love, the mole rats of Africa are a fascinating bunch. They spend practically their entire lives underground building elaborate tunnel systems and feeding on plant stems. This underground lifestyle has led them to evolve small ears, tiny eyes, forward-pointing teeth for digging, and nostrils they can shut at will while digging. Some species are quite social, such as the most famous, the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber), while others live largely solitary lives. If that's not enough, the family of mole rats, dubbed Blesmols, may even help us find a cure for cancer.
Two new frog genera discovered in India's Western Ghats, but restricted to threatened swamp-ecosystems
(04/22/2013) The misty mountains of the Western Ghats seem to unravel new secrets the more you explore it. Researchers have discovered two new frog genera, possibly restricted to rare and threatened freshwater swamps in the southern Western Ghats of India. The discoveries, described in the open-access journal Zootaxa, prove once again the importance of the mountain range as a biodiversity hotspot.