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New insect found in B.C. caves could be a survivor from Ice Age

A newly discovered cave-dwelling species of insect found in British Columbia could be a survivor from the last ice age, scientists say. Haplocampa wagnelli , the arthropod found in a limestone cave near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, is about three to four millimetres long, with six legs, no eyes and a whitish, almost transparent colour.Alberto Sendra, lead author of a study published in the journal Subterranean Biology last week, said the little bug's existence opens up possibilities of how species survive in different climates and conditions."This is a very intriguing species because it looks like it lived underground in caves — for more or less a long time," Sendra said in an interview."This means they can survive in the glacial period. And this is very remarkable because there are no examples of species that live in subterranean areas so up north."Sendra, a professor of animal biology at the University of Alcala in Madrid, said there is a possibility the insect migrated north from the United States and settled in the caves on Vancouver Island.He said he could not say how old the insect is — just that it is primitive, and its discovery raises a number of questions."How can they survive there? It opens up the possibility in the future to search for species in other places where nobody looks for them," he said."We always look in warmer climates in the south and thi ...Read more

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