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Israelis discover blind scorpion

The species is known to live in South America but it's the first time they have been found in the Middle East region.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 22:56 IST

Israeli researchers on Thursday announced that they had discovered several new terrestrial and aquatic species, including a blind scorpion, inside a cave in the centre of the country.

"We found eight kinds of invertebrates unknown to science around 120 metres underground," Professor Amos Fromkin of Jerusalem's Hebrew University told a press conference.

"This a first-grade discovery for science," he added, while displaying glass jars containing the new discoveries.

The largest of the animals was around five centimetres and resembled a white scorpion. The rest could only be seen with the aid of microscopes.

All were discovered in a cave in the Rale region, close to Tel Aviv, during research into the ecosystems of aquifers.

"The fact that these species have been apparently living for millions of years in the caves without ever having been discovered is very rare," said Hanan Dimentman of the university's department of ecology.

"Their whole way of life is totally new to us, it's like a new world underground."

The discoveries have yet to be given a name but Dimentman said they could be divided into categories of scorpions and bacteria.

"The blind scorpions that we discovered are predators and are distant cousins of other scorpions which have never been found before in the Middle East," he added.

Species of blind scorpions are known to live in South America but it is the first time they have been discovered in the Middle East region.

First Published: Jun 01, 2006 22:56 IST