Researchers discovered a new beetle species deep in the deepest cave known to man.
Cave beetles were the first living organism described by science that were adapted to the harsh conditions of life below the Earth's surface, the FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology reported.
Researchers discovered the beetle in the Krubera cave in the Western Caucasus, which is 2,140 metres deep.
"The new species of cave beetle is called Duvalius abyssimus. We only have two specimens, a male and a female. Although they were captured in the world's deepest cave, they were not found at the deepest point," Vicente M. Ortuño, from the University of Alcalá said.
The Duvalius lives a "hypogean lifestyle" In caves and superficial underground compartments.
"The new species' characteristics indicate that it is moderately adapted to life underground. Proof of this is that they still have eyes, which are absent in the highly [specialized] cave species," Alcalá added.
Where this cave is found altitudes can fluctuate between 1,900 and 2,500 meters. The entrance to the cave is 2,240 meters above sea level and relatively close to the black sea; it reaches a depth of 1,400 meters. The cave the beetles were found in is composed of mostly lower and upper Jurassic-Cretaceous limestone. The area is home to a variety of fauna.
"Its location is strategic, since there are fauna of European, Asian and also endemic origin in the zone," the scientist underlined," the scientists explained.
"The discovery of the new beetle provides important data on species that co-exist in these almost unknown ecosystems, even more so when they are found in a geographical area that is very difficult to access, such is the case with this cave," Ortuño concluded.
Ana Sofía Reboleira, researcher from the Universities of Aveiro and La Laguna also worked on the study, which was published in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa.