News from IBE
A diving beetle demonstrating various adaptations to the life underground, including depigmentation and evolutionary loss of eyes, was discovered at the bottom of a clay pound in the cave Soprador do Carvalho, Portugal. The species turned out to be the very first in the whole order of beetles (Coleoptera) to be known exclusively from the underground waters of the country.
Despite not being able to find any other specimens during their study - save for the single female, the team of Dr Ignacio Ribera, Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) and Prof Ana Sofia P. S. Reboleira, University of Copenhagen (Denmark) identified the beetle as new to science, thanks to its unambiguous morphology in combination with molecular data.
"The knowledge of the subterranean fauna from Portugal has significantly increased over the last decade, with the description of a high number of obligate subterranean species (tripling their number) and the establishment of new biogeographic patterns," explain the authors of the study. "A high number of these species are stygobiont (i.e. confined to groundwater), mostly from wells in the north of the country, where evapotranspiration is higher".
Ribera I, Reboleira ASPS (2019) The first stygobiont species of Coleoptera from Portugal, with a molecular phylogeny of the Siettitia group of genera (Dytiscidae, Hydroporinae, Hydroporini, Siettitiina). ZooKeys 813: 21-38. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.813.29765