Dad with long legs – arachnid arachnids, technically known as " reapers " – are already quite disturbing with their too long to be true limbs, sharp movements and the habit of clumping in awful, hairy mass . But recently, researchers have discovered a variety of reapers for science, and this shakes the dreaded by 11.
The creature, discovered deep in a cave in Argentina, looks a bit like the familiar, gangsters swinging through the summer sidewalks, This arachnid sits tightly there , where the hobbits meet the jibes: ghostly white, with slender, grasping hands, decorated with rows of spikes. His exoskeleton is dough; his eyes narrowed to tiny, dark freckles. If the long-legged dad squatting in your garage is Sméagol, then this Argentine cave beast is Gollum.
Like Tolkin's famous prisoner, they reap from a high-altitude grotto, but in the Andes, not the Misty Mountains.
Cave biologist Marcela Peralta collected several of the arachnids while exploring the Donja Otilia Cave between 2006 and 201
Peralta sent strange creatures to Louis Acosta, an expert in zoology and harvester at Cordoba National University.
"At first glance, I thought I had underage copies in my hands," Acosta told Gizmodo via email . "They are usually useless for descriptive work, so I asked Marcella to" try to bring in an older man. "
But when Acosta looked closer, he was shocked to find the specimens, although they seemed immature in their development, they were adults, both male and female.
It was clear to Acosta that the reapers were cruciferous – animals so specialized in cave life that they could no longer survive on the surface. Their constant pallor, almost lack of eyes, and supple, healthy, weak parts are pretty standard for the evolutionary blacks.
Other types of cave harvests were known, but these new ones were objectively strange as hell.
There are thousands of species of harvesters and many do not resemble anything like the spindly long legs common in the Northern Hemisphere. Some have huge lobster nails or pieces of thorns covered with thorns . Others – especially in South America – have stubborn legs and husked, armored bodies . Acosta thinks that the cave harvests may belong to this latter group, but further investigation shows that no, they are even stranger.
There are several differences between men and women, and the features of the legs and genitals are not consistent with any known crop family. The new species – which Acosta named Otilioleptes marcelae describing it in a study published last month in PLOS ONE – also appears to be a whole family of its own.
The fact that Donja Otilia is harvesting at all is a little improbable. Above the ground, the volcanic terrain is so plunged that it is almost "unthinkable" that a crop can be found on the surface, Acosta notes, noting their need for humid conditions.
The cave reaper may have been a relic from ancient times, when the local climate was more humid, surviving for centuries in its underground shelter. There, she waited in constant silence, feeding and reproduction, making babies with ever smaller eyes and longer nails. After a while Otilioleptes forgot the heat of the sun and the kiss of a whiff.