Cubacubana spelaea

Physical characteristics: The long, slender body of this thysanu-ran grows as long as 0.47 inches (12 millimeters), without antennae or tails. The antennae are one and half times the body length, and the tails are slightly longer than the body, growing to 1.41 inches (35.8 millimeters). These thysanurans do not have eyes, and their whitish or transparent, or see-through, bodies lack scales.

Geographic range: This species is only known from the Toca da Boa Vista caves in the north of Bahia, Brazil.

Cubacubana spelaea is only known from the Toca da Boa Vista caves in the north of Bahia, Brazil. (Illustration by Jonathan Higgins. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: They prefer the deepest and wettest areas of the cave, near standing bodies of water.

Diet: The species feeds on dry leaves and other plant tissues carried into the cave by bats. They also probably eat the paper wrapping of markers left years ago by scientists studying the caves.

Behavior and reproduction: Very little is known about the behavior of this species. They are usually found running quickly over rock formations on the cave floor. Males are unknown, which might mean that females can reproduce without mating.

Cubacubana spelaea and people: This species has no direct impact on humans or their activities.

Conservation status: This species is not threatened or endangered. ■


Web sites:

"Critter Catalog: Silverfish." BioKids. critters/information/Thysanura.html (accessed on September 2, 2004).

"Thysanura: Silverfish and Firebrats." Tree of Life Web Project. http:// (accessed on September 2, 2004).

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