Speleonectes atlantida

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Speleonectes atlantida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Remipedia
Order: Nectiopoda
Family: Speleonectidae
Genus: Speleonectes
Species: S. atlantida
Binomial name
Speleonectes atlantida
Koenemann et al., 2009 [1]

Speleonectes atlantida is a species of eyeless crustacean in the order Nectiopoda. It was discovered in August 2009 in the Tunnel de la Atlantida, the world's longest submarine lava tube on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands off the west coast of North Africa. Like other remipedes, the species is equipped with venomous fangs.[2]


Speleonectes atlantida is approximately 20 millimetres (0.8 in) long. Like most other remipedes, the species lacks eyes and is hermaphroditic. Adapted to life in caves, the long antennae sprouting from its head and the presence of sensory hairs along its body allow the crustacean to feel its way along the dark tunnel.[3]

The species is equipped with venom-injecting fangs,[2] a feature unique to class Remipedia among crustaceans.[4]


During a cave diving expedition to explore the Tunnel de la Atlantida, the world’s longest known submarine lava tube on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, an international team of scientists and cave divers discovered the previously unknown species of crustacean, belonging to the remipede genus Speleonectes, along with two new species of annelid worms of the class Polychaeta.[3] The species was named after the tunnel it was found in.[2][4] It is morphologically very similar to Speleonectes ondinae, a remipede that has been known from the same lava tube since 1985, but DNA comparison studies proved that it is a second species.[2] The divergence of the two species may have occurred after the formation of the 6 km (3.7 mi) lava tube during an eruption of the Monte Corona volcano some 20,000 years ago.[2]


  1. ^ Stefan Koenemann, Armin Bloechl, Alejandro Martínez, Thomas M. Iliffe, Mario Hoenemann & Pedro Oromí (2009). "A new, disjunct species of Speleonectes (Remipedia, Crustacea) from the Canary Islands". Marine Biodiversity. 39 (3): 215–225. doi:10.1007/s12526-009-0021-8. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "New Species Of Crustacean Discovered Near Canary Islands". Science Daily. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Jeanna Bryner (25 August 2009). "Eyeless Creature Discovered in Undersea Tunnel". LiveScience. Retrieved 29 August 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Christine Dell'Amore (26 August 2009). "Photo: New Eyeless Crustacean Found in Underwater Cave". National Geographic News. Retrieved 29 August 2009.