The discovery of a primitive arthropod species inside a limestone cave on Vancouver Island in Canada has raised questions among scientists about its origin.

Until deglaciation began some 18,000 years ago, the island itself and its caves were covered by a thick sheet of ice.

The previously-unknown species, named the Haplocampa wagnelli, has an elongated and slender –  a ‘trademark’ feature for strictly underground arthropods.

Cavers Craig Wagnell, Tawney Lem and Felix Ossigi-Bonanno from the Central Island Caving Club along with Alberto Sendra from the Alcala University in Spain, found the creature in a cave recently unearthed in the small limestone area on Vancouver Island.

Its presence in the caves presented proves either terrestrial arthropods survived in deep subterranean habitats during the Last Glacial Maximum, which peaked around 26,000 years ago.

The scientists note close relationships between the genus of the new species and three others known from the two sides of the north Pacific Ocean – Japanese Islands and the Korean Peninsula.

This led to another possibility could be that they separated from their Asian relatives and migrated to Vancouver Island during deglaciation.

It has only slightly elongated antennae and its legs and abdomen are shorter and thicker than most of its relatives.

Original Source


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