Indian researchers have found six new species of spiders at Kuttivanam district in Kerala. Researchers from the Biodiversity Research Centre of Christ College, Irinjalakuda, started investigative research to find new spider species on June 5, on the occasion of World Environment Day. It took nearly 50 days for the Indian researchers to uncover never before seen spider species.
According to Dr. Sudhikumar A.V., principal investigator, out of six newly discovered species, his team has found a spider species named Argyrodes which belongs to the most famous and venomous spider family — black widow. Argyrodes is nearly the size of a housefly and lives in an irregular web weaved in between green leaves. Female black widow spiders have tendency to eat their males, hence named black widow.
Two species belong to the genus Tetragntha. It is a yellow colored spider that has long jaws and can easily identified due to prominent four black spots on the back of their abdomen and black bands on the joints of legs. The dorsal surface of abdomen of green-coloured long-jawed spider is covered by white colored scales, said research scholars Mr. Nafin K.S., and Mr. Sudhin P.P.
The research team also found a new species of the genus Trachelas. These spiders contain eight diamonds like sparkling eyes in the interior part of dark brown head.
Fifth spider belongs to genus Dendrolycosa. It survives on insect found in water bodies. It can be characterised by white lines in the brown colored body and visual spines on the legs. Dendrolycosa has eight eyes in inverted u-shaped pattern in two rows. Recently, nearly 200 species of spider were found in Parambikulam Tiger reserve in which some species were new while some belong to other continents.
The sixth spider species belongs to Chrysso genus also known as comb-footed spider family. “This tiny spider builds small webs in between grass blades to catch their prey. It is characterized by black glossy body and brownish legs,” Dr. Sudhikumar.
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The discovery of six new spider species points towards the rich biodiversity of India and it also raises the spectre of doubt that many more species might be there that are yet to be discovered. It also inspires researchers to step up and discover the undiscovered species.