Named after the Greek god of the underworld for its ability to live at astonishing depths underground, Geophilus hadesi is one of the creepiest centipedes discovered to date. According to a report from Phys.org, the centipede can live at depths of up to 1100 meters below the surface of the Earth.
The centipede was discovered by an international team of scientists who were examining three different caves in the Velebit mountains in Croatia. Their findings were published in the journal ZooKeys.
Hades was also named to complement one of its underground cousins, a similar centipede named after Persephone, the queen of the underworld. The two centipedes are some of the few members of the order geophilomorphs that venture underground.
The centipedes feed on other invertebrates, and exhibit elongated antennae, trunk segments, and claws at the ends of their legs. They have powerful jaws equipped with poisonous glands and long, curved claws that allow them to grasp and incapacitate their prey with ease. The Hades centipede is easily one of the most effective predators dwelling in cavernous underground world.
The Velebit mountain ranges over 145 kilometers across the Croatian Dinaric Karst, and is home to a surprising level of underground biodiversity. The deepest cave, from the Lukina jama – Trojama cave system is a whopping 1431 meters deep, ranked the 15th deepest cave on the planet.
Lead author Pavel Stoev says he was sure that nobody had discovered the Hades centipede when he first saw one dwelling in the depths of the cave. Scientists predict that there are still many more species that have yet to be discovered, and they plan on continuing the search.