Seven New Species of Blind Cave Beetles Discovered in Southern China

Posted on November 17, 2014

Dongodytes yaophilous

Seven new species of blind cave beetles have been discovered in Southern China. The Trechineia beetles were discovered by researchers from the South China Agricultural University.

The newly discovered beetles all belong to the genus Dongodytes. These beetles are known for having slender and elongated bodies. The researchers say the beetles are very rare in caves. A Dongodytes (s.str.) yaophilous beetle, one of the new species, is pictured above.

Prof. Mingyi Tian, the senior author of the study, says in a statement, "China is becoming more and more fascinating for those who study cave biodiversity, because it holds some of the most morphologically adapted cavernicolous animals in the world. This is specifically true for fishes and the threchine beetles, the second of which is also the group featured in this study."

The eyeless beetles were discovered in dark areas of the caves. The researchers visited 48 caves and found trechine beetles populations in 12 of them. The caves are also home to creatures including crickets, mosquitoes, millipedes, centipedes, spiders, snails and more.

You can find the research paper on the new cave beetles Zookeys. Figures in the article show some of the caves the rare beetles were discovered in.

Photo: Mingyi Tian