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New species of collembola Tritomurus veles from Croatian cave

20.05.2011.

Tritomurus veles, a new species of collembola is described from the jama Amfora pit on Biokovo Mt. This is the third species of the genus Tritomurus. Two known species T. scutellatus Frauenfeld 1854 inhabit caves on Dinaric carst and T. falcifer Cassagnau 1958 inhabit caves on small karst of the Arbas massif of central Pyrenees. Tritomurus veles is a second highly troglomorphic species of the genus that inhabit cave hygropetric and exhibit some strong morphological adaptations to cave life. This new species exhibit some adaptive well-cut characters as remarkable claw elongation.

The first and for a long time only specimen of the new species was collected in 2001, during a speleological exploration of the pit Amfora jama conducted by the Croatian Natural History Museum, Speleological section PDS Velebit, Speleological club SAK Ekstrem and the Nature Park Biokovo.

The first specimen was collected by biospeleologist Jana Bedek on the unknown depth. Additional specimens were collected in 2008 during visit of Croatian Biospeleological Society to the same pit. They were all found between 170 - 430 meters deep always on the cave hygropetric. They probably inhabit deeper parts of the pit but during this visit speleologists did not went below -430 meters. This species is known so far only from Amfora jama pit.

Partial support for this exploration was given by the Nature Park Biokovo and Sunčani Hvar d.d.

References: Lukić M, Houssin C, Deharveng L (2010) A new relictual and highly troglomorphic species of Tomoceridae (Collembola) from a deep Croatian cave. ZooKeys 69 : 1 - 16 . doi: 10.3897/zookeys.69.739