New Kind of Spider Found in Oregon

Reply Fri 17 Aug, 2012 08:06 pm
Amateur cave explorers have found a new family of spiders in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon, and scientists have dubbed it Trogloraptor — Latin for cave robber — for their fearsome front claws.

The spelunkers sent specimens to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, which has the West Coast's largest collection of spiders. Entomologists there say the spider — reddish brown and the size of a half dollar — evolved so distinctly that it requires its own taxonomic family — the first new spider family found in North America since the 1870s.

"It took us a long time to figure out what it wasn't," said Charles Griswold, curator of arachnids at the academy. "Even longer to figure out what it is. We used anatomy. We used DNA to understand its evolutionary place. Then we consulted other experts all over the world about what this was. They all concurred with our opinion that this was something completely new to science."

"It's a good example of how science works — professional and citizen scientists share information," he added.

The discovery is described in the Friday online edition of the journal ZooKeys.
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Reply Fri 17 Aug, 2012 08:26 pm
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Reply Sat 18 Aug, 2012 01:59 am
Another daughter of Arachne . . . as Soz says, cool . . .
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Reply Sat 18 Aug, 2012 08:28 am
The Article wrote:

"They make a little web, but hang under this web. They hang some of their legs out in space. This is all in the dark in a cave. We think the legs are stretched out waiting for something to come by, like a fly, and when it hits the legs, the claws may just snap shut."

That's the same way scientists think the Giant Squid hunts in the deep ocean (except without the web of course). They hang their tentacles down and wait for something to swim by and then snag it.

It's interesting that two such different phyla of multi-legged creatures living in lightless environments would adopt similar methods of catching prey.
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Reply Sat 18 Aug, 2012 08:54 am
Just wondering if the half-dollar size diameter refers to body only, or body and legs. Either way it approaches limit of my comfort zone for proximity to a spider out and about. I find spiders interesting, so many varieties. I admire their engineering skills and that they catch insects, although the bird-catching ones kind of freak me out.

I've co-existed with spiders in my home with different degrees of equanimity...oh look at the little striped spider, brown and white, reminded me of peppermint candy, and I checked the web in a bathroom window to see what the catch of the day was. I slept in a room with two tarantulas, each snug in its very own aquarium. My major concern was would there be an earthquake during this

visit. In another house I stayed out of the basement after meeting a good-sized spider by the washing machine. I tried to be cool and was loading laundry when the critter jumped and I jumped and ran. Husband did the wash for several months.

Maybe I'll get to see this new spider in a zoo or musem but not in a cave.
Reply Sat 18 Aug, 2012 09:05 am
I have experienced arachnophobia various times in my life. Mostly, I tolerate them these days and actually enjoy the presence, outdoors, of many different kinds. Some jumping spiders can be interesting characters to observe. And, on my job, I often fish out the wolf spiders that have foolishly jumped in the water. But, I have a dark little spot on top of one foot, where a tiny one bit me as I slept.
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Reply Sat 18 Aug, 2012 03:11 pm
Good find!
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