Croatian bio-speleologists have discovered a tiny insect with wings deep inside the caves of the Mount Velebit, and this discovery is surprising given that it is the first finding of such kind of subterranean animal species with wings.

Beyond any doubt, this species belongs to troglobionts, which experts classify as cave animals fully adapted to subterranean life, but until now those animal species seem not to be able to have wings.

We have been surprised, it was unexpected to have animals able to fly in pitch darkness,  Martina Pavlek, a researcher of the Rudjer Boskovic Institute, has recently told Hina.

Pavlek is a member of the six-member team that has studied this species named "Troglocadius Hajdi" ("Cave Hajdi"). The newly-discovered organism is named after the Hajdi, a group of winged, dwarf-like creatures from Slavic mythology, where they acted as messengers of fate and were said to dwell in caves.

The results of the team's research have been explained in an article published by the "PLoS ONE" journal under the headline "Blind Flight? A New Troglobiotic Orthoclad (Diptera, Chironomidae) from the Lukina Jama – Trojama Cave in Croatia".

The first example of this cave-dwelling organism was found in the Lukina Jama cave, Mount Velebit, Croatia in 2010.

The article underscored that until this discovery there were no known flying troglobionts.

The new species, with wing length 1.8-2.2 mm has been observed at depths between 800 and 980 metres.

The abstract of the article reads that the new new species was "collected at 980 m depth in the Lukina jama—Trojama cave system in Croatia."

"Morphological features such as pale color, strongly reduced eyes and very long legs make it a typical cave animal. Surprisingly, it has also retained large wings and appears to be capable of flight which would make T. hajdi the first flying troglobiont worldwide, disproving previous beliefs that bats are the only animals capable of flying in complete darkness.," according to that article.

"Morphologically the new species does not readily fit within any described genus, but shares characteristics with genera both in the tribes 'Metriocnemini' and 'Orthocladiini'. Bayesian molecular phylogenetic analysis using the markers COI, 18S rDNAs, 28S rDNA, CADI, and CADIV groups it with the genera Tvetenia, Cardiocladius and Eukiefferiella in the tribe “Metriocnemini”. Troglocladius hajdi may be parthenogenetic, as only females were collected. The discovery confirms the position of the Dinaric arch as a highly important hotspot of subterranean biodiversity."

Related stories

Latest news

Russia's long-time UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin dies in New York

Russia's long-time ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died "suddenly" in New York on Monday, a day before his 65th birthday, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

French police raid National Front over European Parliament payments

France's far-right National Front Monday said that investigators had searched its offices in relation to allegations that it misused European Parliament funds.

Unhappy Presidents' Day: Trump still manoeuvring after Sweden comment

Donald Trump used his first Presidents' Day in office to continue trying to talk his way out of comments implying a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.

Croatia supports Kosovo's territorial integrity - Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed the support to Kosovo's territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations during her talks with the visiting Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Petrov rules out early parliamentary election

Parliament Speaker and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov on Monday dismissed speculation about a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority, saying an early election was likelier, but that right now he did not see "such a scenario."

First local elections in 20 years to be held in Nepal on May 14

Nepal's government announced the dates for forthcoming local elections on Monday, nearly 20 years after polls were last held for municipalities and village councils in the country.

US Defence Secretary: We are not in Iraq to seize Iraqi oil

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday that the United States does not intend to seize Iraqi oil, in reference to comments made by President Donald Trump last month.

Bryan Adams to play Zagreb

Canadian rock star Bryan Adams, who has sold more than 100 million albums in his 40-year-long career, will perform in Zagreb on November 9, according to his website and Facebook account.

Two charged for racially insulting actor Jamie Foxx in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik police will bring misdemeanour charges against two men for disturbing the peace on Sunday night in a local restaurant when they racially insulted African American actor Jamie Foxx, who is currently in Dubrovnik filming "Robin Hood: Origins".

Film "Anka" starring Eric Cantona shown to reporters

The film "Anka" by Croatian actor and director Dejan Acimovic, a story about children, friendship and the quest for identity, filled with scenes of nature, magic and elves, based on one of the best known novels of Croatian writer Mato Lovrak, "Anka Brazilijanka", was shown at a screening for reporters in Zagreb on Monday.

Opposition youth leader arrested in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean police on Monday arrested an opposition youth leader on charges of inciting public violence against the government of President Robert Mugabe, the youth leader’s lawyer said.

Turkey dismisses 227 judges and prosecutors

Turkey's top judicial body on Monday dismissed 227 judges and prosecutors who are accused of having links to a cleric blamed for last year's coup attempt, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.