Caves of California Parks Yield Tiny Discoveries

The Crystal Cave millipede i i

hide captionThe Crystal Cave millipede on roots in the Rapunzels Canyon section of the cave. This animal is very likely a new species from the Striariidae family.

Joel Despain
The Crystal Cave millipede

The Crystal Cave millipede on roots in the Rapunzels Canyon section of the cave. This animal is very likely a new species from the Striariidae family.

Joel Despain
pseudoscorpion i i

hide captionThis new species of pseudoscorpion lives in Walk Softly Cave, which also contains a bat colony. These eye-less animals are predators that hunt in the complete darkness of the cave.

Jean Krejca
pseudoscorpion

This new species of pseudoscorpion lives in Walk Softly Cave, which also contains a bat colony. These eye-less animals are predators that hunt in the complete darkness of the cave.

Jean Krejca

Sequoia National Park in California may be famous for its massive trees, but some very tiny creatures that live there are also making news. Biologists have discovered new species of spiders, millipedes, and other critters deep in the underground caves of the park.

So far, reports Sasha Khokha of member station KQED, scientists have discovered 27 new species in caves throughout Central California, at Sequoia and at Kings Canyon National Park. They found creatures so tiny they couldn't pick them up with tweezers. Some had to be collected on the delicate ends of a paintbrush.

The spiders and centipedes were pickled and shipped off to taxonomists all around the world. The experts have confirmed that while these little creatures may be close to relatives above ground, they've adapted into completely different species. Now, the next task is to give all of them names.

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