Ishikawatrechus intermedius is a blind cave beetle first found in the cave Ôchi-dô, Kôchi Prefecture, Japan. Cave species can become adapted to life in a cave and lose the ability to travel outside the cave. When this happens, mating with other populations ceases and the isolated species form new species, each one restricted to its own cave. Ishikawatrechus intermedius was found in a cave that became the site for extensive limestone mining during the 1970s. Its habitat destroyed, the species was presumed extinct.
Today, there is greater understanding of endangered species and the effects of habitat destruction. The mining might have been disallowed under today’s rules.
Sugaya and colleagues* report a “rediscovery” of the species in the same region as the cave where it was first collected. The scientists conclude that the beetle may not have lost all ability to survive outside of caves. Its survival is credited to the ability to relocate.
Kazuki Sugaya, Ryo Ogawa,Yusuke Hara. Rediscovery of the “extinct” blind ground beetle. Entomological Science. Volume 20, Issue 1 January/December 2017 Pages 159–162.