Meenopius roddenberryi - Cave-dwelling Bug
Among the 132 cave-dwelling invertebrate species of the Canary Islands are about 15 species of Hemiptera or true bugs. Most of these troglobites are from younger, more recently volcanically active, islands where lava tubes are abundant. Before the year 2000, Gran Canaria cave fauna consisted of one spider and one cockroach. Since then, explorations of lava tubes and old artificial caves have revealed a much richer fauna than was suspected, almost the equal to that of younger islands. Discoveries have included millipedes, pseudoscorpions, spiders, silverfish and beetles, many of which are yet to be named. Dr Hannelore Hoch of the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, with Dr Manuel Naranjo of the Sociedad Entomológica Canaria Melansis and Dr Pedro Oromí of the Universidad de La Laguna, recently discovered a new species of cavernicolous true bug in a 30 metre-long water mine on Gran Canaria near Tenteniguada, at about 1,100 metres above sea level. The bug was found in the deepest part of the mine, formed in colluvial deposits of basalt, where seasonal variations are slight.
The researchers cited the famous phrase, "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life ... to boldly go where no man has gone before," saying that it could apply to biology as much as it did to space exploration. In effect, the discovery of this strange bug was no different than discovering a new world or new alien race, thus keeping it in line with Roddenberry's meaning when he coined the phrase.
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