Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Earth’s Deepest-Dwelling Centipede Discovered in Croatia

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A tiny centipede has just set an underground world record. It’s also been given a name with hellish connotations.

Recently discovered by an international team of researchers, the new species was found in a trio of central Croatian caves. One specimen is especially remarkable, having appeared some 3,600 feet beneath the Earth’s surface. This is the deepest a live centipede has ever been found.

In homage to Hades, the scientists dubbed their creature Geophilus hadesi. In doing so, they winked at its close relative, Geophilus persephones. A predator with similar habits, G. persephones was discovered some 16 years earlier and named after Persephone, the abducted queen of the god of the underworld. But while Hades’ wife regularly went above ground, these two never leave their cavernous habitat.

Members of the Geophilus genus belong to a large centipede subgroup called the geophilomorphs, which are found on every continent but Antarctica. Zoologists have identified more than a thousand species, and all of them are well adapted for subterranean living. (For one thing, they're all sightless.) However, only G. hadesi and G. persephones dwell exclusively in caves throughout their entire lives. 

Along with virtually all centipedes, G. hadesi is a carnivore. Using venomous glands, the inch-long assassin likely subdues and eats springtails (tiny, insect-like hexapods), worms, woodlice, spiders and other small prey, according to LiveScience. Despite its extreme niche, special traits allow this particular centipede to survive and thrive. For instance, a pair of unusually long antennae ease the task of navigating over lightless terrain. Its body segments and leg claws have been similarly extended.

Lead author Pavel Stoev sees the discovery as a humbling reminder. “This finding,” he says, “comes to prove once again how little we know about the life in caves, where even in the best prospected areas, one can still find incredible animals."

A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.


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