NPR logo

Caves of California Parks Yield Tiny Discoveries

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5175838/5175845" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Caves of California Parks Yield Tiny Discoveries

Research News

Caves of California Parks Yield Tiny Discoveries

Caves of California Parks Yield Tiny Discoveries

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5175838/5175845" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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 hide caption

toggle caption Joel Despain

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

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 hide caption

toggle caption Jean Krejca

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.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.