New Species Discovered in World's Deepest Cave

By James Baker on at

A completely new species of bug—a ground beetle named Duvalius abyssimus—was recently discovered by scientists exploring the subterranean fauna living up to 1.5 miles below the earth's surface in the Krubera-Voronja caves, Russia.

The new creature has adapted to a life without light in the world's deepest cave system, with extended antennae and a body that has no pigment. It is about a quarter of an inch long.

New species discovered in world's deepest cave

Illustration of Duvalius abyssimus. / Sinc - José Antonio Peñas

The distance from the base of the Krubera-Voronja system to the top is about the same as the height of seven Eiffel Towers. Ambient temperatures are constantly below seven degrees Celsius and it gets considerably colder the lower you descend. Water temperature is just above freezing.

Ana Sofia Reboleira, a researcher at the Universities of Aveiro and La Laguna, and M. Vicente Ortuño (Portugal), of Alcalá University (Spain), made the discovery and published their findings in the journal Zootaxa. You can see just how tough it must have been working in the caves in the following videos from previous expeditions: