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Pandora is on Earth: new species of Eukoenenia (Palpigradi) emerging at risk of extinction
The change on the Brazilian legislation regarding the use of natural cavities in 2008 improved the number of studies on environmental impacts involving caves. It requires the classification of such environments according to their degree of relevance and cavities without maximum degree may become target of irreversible impacts. Thus, cavities inserted in rocks of high economic interest have been intensively sampled, what allowed the collection of several specimens of Palpigradi in these regions. The Iron Quadrangle (Minas Gerais) stands out among these areas as one the most important sources of iron ore in Brazil. Several palpigrades from this region are housed in collections: most of them belong to the edaphic species Eukoenenia ferratilis, and a small portion corresponds to new species that present morphology quite distinct from E. ferratilis, with larger body length and more elongated appendages indicating the presence of troglomorphisms. Therefore, the present study aimed to describe three new troglobitic species of Eukoenenia, which can be distinguished by morphometry and some qualitative characters. These descriptions are important for the preservation of the caves where they occur, since the presence of troglobitic species elevate the degree of relevance of caves, which have been severely threatened by mining activities.
IS17049 Accepted 15 September 2017
© CSIRO 2017