A springtail new to science has been discovered living near the bottom of the world’s deepest cave, nearly 2 kilometres (well over a mile) below ground. Andrew Purcell tells us in “World’s deepest land animal discovered” that this type of insect and four others (New Scientist, February 22, 2012) .,
have been classified as springtails, a type of small primitive wingless insect. Living in total darkness, the species all lack eyes. However, A. stereoodorata compensates for this with a highly specialised form of chemoreceptor.
The earlier record for finding springtails underground was 550 metres, about a third of a mile.
What makes an insect primitive as opposed to highly specialized?