A rare species of giant spider found in Australia

(CNN) — A huge new species of spider has been discovered in Queensland, Australia, and researchers say it needs protection.

The rare and colorful, tarantula-like creature is a species of golden trapdoor spider. EublosIt has been the subject of an extensive research program since 2017, according to The study was published on March 15 In the journal Journal of Arachnology.

Call now Eublos dignitaThe species was first discovered near the towns of Manto and Eadswold in the early 20th century but remained undescribed and unnamed due to a lack of research, study author Michael Riggs, a senior curator at the Queensland Museum Network, said by email.

Over the years, only a few copies have existed Eublos dignita In the Queensland Museum collection, all but one were collected before the 1970s. There were no known males among them, which posed a major obstacle for Riggs and his research team.

A journey of reinvention

Having a male specimen is important to identify and name a species within the order MygalomorphaSpiders belong EublosPaula Cushing, Chief Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science explains. Cushing, secretary of the American Spider Society, was not involved in the study.

“Often, always, with spiders, you have to examine the genitalia to know if what you’re seeing is new to science,” he added.

So the researchers needed new genetic material that they could analyze in a living male sample, which meant they had to find one.

After three days of searching in May 2021, they found what they were looking for on a road in the Eitsvold-Mondo area. This is the first collection of the species since the 1990s.

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After comparing their discovery with other specimens in the museum’s collection, the research team officially described it Eublos Dignitas. polite “Latin for dignity or majesty, it refers to the true spectacular nature of this spider,” Riggs said. YouTube video Published by Queensland Museums Network. “It’s a big and beautiful species.”

Females of the species have a reddish-brown shell, behave like burrowing spiders, and can reach 5 centimeters in length, which is “extremely large” for this type of spider, according to the study. Males have a “bright honey-red carapace and legs” and their bellies are grey-brown.

Security Eublos Dignitas

Researchers have also discovered that these rare species need protection. When the researchers found the male specimen Eublos DignitasMuch of the roadside habitat normally available to this species has been cleared or heavily disturbed for agriculture, which is “very destructive to trapdoor spiders, their burrows, and habitat integrity.” , according to researchers.

“Until extensive surveys are done, we won’t know how many populations remain,” says Riggs. “But the species’ natural range is small (and) very fragmented, and we were only able to find one living (specimen) at that time.”

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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