New giant trapdoor spider discovered in Australia – ‘it’s a big, beautiful species’ Science and technology news
A new and ‘rare’ species of giant trapdoor spider has been discovered in Australia.
The large eight-legged arachnid is so large that it was named “Euoplos dignitas” in honor of its “impressive” size – which means dignity or grandeur in Latin.
Researchers say the female spiders, which are usually larger than males, can reach body lengths of up to two inches.
“It’s a big, beautiful species,” said one of the lead researchers, Dr. Michael Rix, curator of arachnology at the Queensland Museum.
However, the chance of encountering the spider is pretty slim, scientists say.
The spider lives in open woodland and builds its burrows in the black soils of the Brigalow Belt in central Queensland on Australia’s northeast coast.
However, these forests have been torn apart by over 150 years of human development and today comprise some of Queensland’s most threatened ecological communities.
Researchers say the spider, which can live up to 20 years in the wild, has lost much of its habitat to deforestation, likely making it an endangered species.
It is known to exist in very few places around the rural towns of Eidsvold and Monto.
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according to dr Rix female spiders of the new species spend their lives underground, while male spiders, described as “honey red,” leave their burrows after about five to seven years to find a mate.
The spiders are mostly nocturnal, sitting at the trapdoor of their burrows and waiting for insects to pass by before striking.
They use venom to subdue their prey. dr However, Rix says they are not dangerous to humans.
In a video released to announce the discovery, Dr. Rix, the experts are excited to “scientifically document this new species”.
dr Jeremy Wilson, research associate in arachnology at the Queensland Museum Network, said naming the new species has positive real-life implications, as a known species means ‘protectable’.
The research was conducted with support from Project DIG, a five-year partnership between the Queensland Museum Network and mining company BHP.