Newportia troglobia, Junior & Shelley, 2003

Junior, Amazonas Chagas & Shelley, Rowland M., 2003, The centipede genus Newportia Gervais, 1847, in Mexico: description of a new troglomorphic species; redescription of N. sabina Chamberlin, 1942; revival of N. azteca Humbert & Saussure, 1869; and a summary of the fauna (Scolopendromorpha: Scolopocryptopidae: Newportiinae), Zootaxa 379, pp. 1-20 : 4-6

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.379.1.1


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scientific name

Newportia troglobia

new species

Newportia troglobia , new species

Figs. 1–8 View FIGURES 1–8 .

Type specimens. Holotype ( NCSM, formerly TMM 34808 View Materials ) collected by P. Sprouse on 22– 28 November 1986 in Cueva del Tecolote , Los San Pedros, Guémez, Tamaulipas, Mexico . Paratypes from Cueva del Tecolote as follows: two ( NCSM, formerly TMM 34802 View Materials ) collected by P. Sprouse on 24 November 1985 ; one ( TMM 34800 View Materials ) taken on “ Chihue Freeway ” by D. Pate on 17 March 1989 ; one ( TMM 34824 View Materials ) collected by D. Pate on 21 November 1984 ; one ( FSCA, formerly TMM 34805 View Materials ) taken by S. Scheibner on 20 March 1989 ; and one ( FSCA, formerly TMM 34806 View Materials ) collected by C. Savvas on 22 March 1993 . One paratype ( NCSM, formerly TMM 34807 View Materials ) collected by P. Sprouse on 30 December 1988 in Cueva del Llorona, Los San Pedros. Paratypes from Sistema de Purification cave system as follows: one ( TMM 34826 View Materials ) from “Valhalla Section” collected by T. Tracy, P. Sprouse, & L. Hose on 30 April 1980 ; one ( TMM 34830 View Materials ) from “ World Beyond ” collected by P. Sprouse on 26 November 1979 ; one ( FSCA, formerly TMM 34823 View Materials ) from unspecified section collected by P. Sprouse on 18 April 1980 ; two ( FSCA, formerly TMM 34819 View Materials ) from “ Sumidero de Oyamel ” collected by L. Witt on 20 April 1980 ; one ( NMNH, formerly TMM 34820 View Materials ) from along “ Dragon River ” taken by S. Robertson on 22 May 1980 ; one ( MNRJ, formerly TMM 34826 View Materials ) from along “ Valkyrie River ” taken by P. Sprouse on 21 March 1981 ; and one ( MNRJ, formerly TMM 34829 View Materials ) from “upstream World Beyond ” collected by T. Tracy, P. Sprouse, & J. Liebers on 26 November 1979 .

Diagnosis. Cephalic plate without sutures, caudal margin overlain by 1 st tergite. Latter without procurved sulcus. Lateral tergal depressions present from 2 nd through 22nd tergites, terminating short of anterior and caudal margins. Sterna without spurs. Coxopleural processes short, with short terminal spines. Tibiae and tarsi without spurs; claws prolonged, with one long accessory spine apiece. Ultimate prefemora and femora with three and two, or two and three, small, indistinct, submidventral spines, respectively; tarsi divided into ca. 58 indistinct pseudosegments.

Description. Body length 40 mm, maximum width 2.0 mm at tergite 13. General color of body, legs, and antennae white, cephalic plate light yellow; a few specimens uniformly light yellow. Cephalic plate: short, smooth, without puncta but with hairs, wider than long, margins straight to slightly curved, without sutures, caudal margin overlain by 1st tergite ( Fig. 1 View FIGURES 1–8 ). Antennae: reaching back to segment six, right antenna with 17 articles, left with 18; first two antennomeres sparsely setose, remaining articles with dense coat of fine, short pubescence on dorsal surface; two most proximal articles shorter than 3rd and more distal ones. Coxosternum: anterior margin straight, without tooth plates, with a few scattered hairs. Forcipules: with indistinct enlargements on trochanteroprefemora ( Fig. 2 View FIGURES 1–8 ). Tergites: smooth, glabrous to moderately hirsute. First tergite with sulcus arising short of lateral margins at ¼ length, angling caudad to midline, giving rise to short, caudally directed, middorsal sulcus at midlength, in turn giving rise to two short, angled, asymmetrical sulci terminating well before caudal margin ( Fig. 1 View FIGURES 1–8 ). Complete paramedian sulci and incomplete lateral depressions present from 2nd through 22nd tergites, sulci stronger near caudal tergal margins, lateral depressions terminating short of anterior and caudal margins ( Fig. 3 View FIGURES 1–8 ). Ultimate tergite shorter than preceding, without sulci, with lateral carinae. Sternites: smooth, glabrous to moderately hirsute, without spurs, with longitudinal median depressions on 4th to 21st sterna, terminating short of anterior and caudal margins ( Fig. 4 View FIGURES 1–8 ). Ultimate sternite shorter than preceding, narrowing slightly caudad, caudal margin straight or slightly extended in midline ( Fig. 5 View FIGURES 1–8 ). Coxopleural processes: short and acuminate, with short terminal spines, pore fields terminating short of tergal borders ( Figs. 5–6 View FIGURES 1–8 ). Leg pairs 1–22: Long and slender, 4x lengths of corresponding tergites, prefemora and femora expanding slightly at distal extremities, tibiae and tarsi without spurs, with one long accessory spine at base of each claw, about half as long as claw, latter long, slender, and gently curved; tarsi of 1st legs undivided, those of legs 2–22 divided into 1st and 2nd tarsi, 1 st tarsi subequal in length to or longer than tibiae. Ultimate legs: lengths 19 mm; prefemora and femora with three and two, or two and three, small, indistinct, submidventral spines, respectively ( Figs. 7–8 View FIGURES 1–8 ); tibiae without spines. Tarsi with scattered long hairs that disappear around 10 th pseudosegment; first tarsi shorter than tibiae; second tarsi divided into ca. 58 indistinct pseudosegments, first pseudotarsi longest.

Ecology. Newportia troglobia inhabits damp stream passages in remote sections of the dark zones of caves; individuals were observed crawling on clay banks and flowstones. The centipedes are fragile, weakly sclerotized, and easily damaged during collection.

Distribution. Known only from the localities of the holotype and paratypes, which are collectively ca. 10 mi (16 km) northeast of Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas ( Fig. 17 View FIGURE 17 , star in dot). They are the first records of Newportia from this state, and we also report N. oreina Chamberlin, 1915 , and N. atoyaca and morela , both by Chamberlin, 1943, from Tamaulipas in ensuing accounts.

Etymology: The species name reflects this centipede’s apparent status as an obligate troglobite; it has only been encountered deep in the dark zones of caves.

Remarks. Newportia troglobia is an extremely narrow newportiine, and it possesses greatly elongated antennae and legs, standard anatomical modifications for subterranean life. However, in this species even the claws and accessory claws are significantly prolonged, as are the spurs on all legs except the ultimate pair. We do not believe that N. troglobia can survive in surface environments, in contrast to Theatops phanus Chamberlin, 1951 ( Scolopendromorpha : Cryptopidae : Plutoniuminae ) in Texas ( Chamberlin, 1951; Shelley,1997, 2002), which occurs close to cave entrances—beneath a stone on the bottom of the first drop (an unnamed cave near Sonora, Sutton County) and on silt 60 m (200 ft) from the entrance (Longley Cave, Terrell County). Cavernicolous specimens of T. phanus exhibit elongate antennae and legs, but the appendages are much shorter in epigean individuals.

At 5.3 mi (28,126 ft., 93,755 m) in length and 286 ft (953 m) deep, Sistema de Purificacion is the second longest and one of the deepest cave systems in Mexico (J. Reddell, pers. com). It includes three smaller caves that were originally believed to be separate but are now known to connect: Cueva del Brinco, Cueva del Infiernillo, and Sumidero de Oyamel. There are several sections to Sistema de Purificacion, Valkyrie, with the Valkyrie River running through it, and Valhalla being two in which N. troglobia has been encountered. Other sections in Sistema de Purificacion where the centipede was discovered include along the Dragon River, a major stream in a separate part of the cave, “World Beyond,” a large, extremely remote passage with a stream running through it, and “Upstream World Beyond,” the upper part of the latter. Cueva del Tecolote and Cueva del Llorona also are large caves that are still being explored and may eventually be found to interconnect with each other and with Sistema de Purificacion; at present, they are separated by several kilometers. Cueva del Tecolote is 2.3 mi (12,232 ft., 40,775 m) long and 127 ft (424 m) deep, and “Chihue Freeway,” where N. troglobia was taken, is a major internal passage.


North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences


Texas Memorial Museum


Florida State Collection of Arthropods, The Museum of Entomology


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro