Troglocladius hajdi – the first flying blind insect in the world!

A new genus and species for science, the Troglocladius hajdi Andersen, Baranov et Hagenlund, 2016, was described from the cave system Jamski sustav Lukina jama-Trojama. This species is the first troglobiotic insect that has retained functional wings along with typical morphological adaptations to the cave habitats: the loss of pigment and eyes. It has the ability to fly in complete darkness, which is a unique example in the world. The species is known only from the type locality, the cave system Jamski sustav Lukina jama-Trojama in northern Velebit Mt. It was collected at a depth of over 980 m. Another interesting feature of Troglocladius hajdi is that only females have been found so far, and the species is potentially parthenogenetic (there are no males).

Two Croatian scientists, Marija Ivković (PMF) and Martina Pavlek (CBSS, IRB), with experts from Norway and Ukraine participated in the description of the species.

The title of the article published in PLOS ONE magazine is: Blind Flight? A New Troglobiotic Orthoclad (Diptera, Chironomidae) from the Lukina Jama – Trojama Cave in Croatia and can be found on the link.