Few species of Japygidae (Diplura) have been discovered in cave ecosystems despite their importance as large predators. A small collection of rare specimens of this hexapod group has allowed to explore the taxonomy of japygids from caves in New Zealand, Morocco and South Africa, and to describe one new genus: Imazighenjapyx Sendra & Sánchez-García gen. nov., as well as four new species: Austrjapyx wynbergensis Sendra & Sánchez-García sp. nov., Imazighenjapyx marocanus Sendra & Sánchez-García gen. et sp. nov., Opisthjapyx naledi Sendra & Sánchez-García sp. nov. and Teljapyx aotearoa Sendra & Sánchez-García sp. nov. For each of the new taxa we give a comprehensive description of their habitats. These new findings resulted in a revision of the distribution and allowed to re-evaluate the morphological traits of the fifteen cave-adapted japygids species already known worldwide. The functional morphology of the remarkable abdominal pincers of Japygidae and their adaptation to predation are discussed, as well as their potential role in mating behaviour.
Japygidae, taxonomy, phylogeny, cave-dwelling, biogeography