French mathematician and spider aficionado Cédric Villani honoured with a new orb-weaver

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  • February 4, 2020
  • Considered as one of the best studied spiders, the orb-weavers remain poorly known in the central parts of the Palearctic ecozone. Hence, an international research team took to the Caucasus, Middle East and Central Asia. Their article in the open-access peer-reviewed journal ZooKeys documents three new-to- science species, where one is named after the Indo-Iranian god of light Mithra. Another carries the name of the flamboyant French mathematician and spider aficionado Cédric Villani.

    Cave fights for food: voracious spiders vs assassin bugs

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  • January 22, 2020
  • Adult specimens of Zelurus diasi (left) and Enoploctenus cyclotorax (right) observed in the study area.

    Killing and eating of potential competitors has rarely been documented in the zoological literature, even though this type of interaction can affect population dynamics. In a recent publication in the open-access journal Subterranean Biology, Brazilian scientists presented their notes regarding the predation of an assassin bug by a spider in Neotropical caves. Underground, where food resources are scarce, such events might be possible as a result of ecological pressures imposed by the hostile environment, hypothesise the researchers.

    Trendy on eight legs: Jumping spider named after fashion czar Karl Lagerfeld

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  • July 2, 2019
  • New to science species of Australian jumping spider was named after Hamburg-born fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019) after the arachnid reminded its discoverers of the designer. Intrigued by its distinct ‘downplayed’ black-and-white colours, the Hamburg-Brisbane-Melbourne team likened the spider’s appearance to Lagerfeld’s trademark style: his white hair and Kent collar that contrasted with the black […]

    As uniform as cloned soldiers, new spiders were named after the Stormtroopers in Star Wars

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  • March 14, 2019
  • The new species are amongst the very first bald-legged spiders recorded in Colombia Despite being widely distributed across north and central South America, bald-legged spiders had never been confirmed in Colombia until the recent study by the team of Drs Carlos Perafan and Fernando Perez-Miles (Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay) and William Galvis (Universidad Nacional […]

    New tarantula species from Angola distinct with a one-of-a-kind ‘horn’ on its back

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  • February 12, 2019
  • A new to science species of tarantula with a peculiar horn-like protuberance sticking out of its back was recently identified from Angola, a largely underexplored country located at the intersection of several Afrotropical ecoregions. Collected as part of the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project, which aims to uncover the undersampled biodiversity in the entire Okavango […]

    Right under our noses: A novel lichen-patterned spider found on oaks in central Spain

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  • August 8, 2018
  • It happened again, a previously unknown spider species, whose home is a strongly humanised European country, appears to have been quietly and patiently waiting to get noticed until very recently. Living on the trunks of oaks in Spain, the new species would have probably been spotted decades ago, had it not been for its sophisticated […]

    Out of the darkness: A new spider found deep within an Indiana cave

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  • June 28, 2018
  • Spiders are ubiquitous within our forests, fields, and backyards. Although you may be used to seeing the beautiful yellow and black spiders of the genus Argiope in your garden, large ground-scurrying wolf spiders in your yard, or spindly cellar spiders in your basement, this new sheet-web-building spider is probably one you haven’t seen before. The […]

    Six new species of goblin spiders named after famous goblins and brownies

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  • June 21, 2018
  •   Fictional characters originally ‘described’ by famous English children’s writer Enid Blyton have given their names to six new species of minute goblin spiders discovered in the diminishing forests of Sri Lanka. The goblins Bom, Snooky and Tumpy and the brownies Chippy, Snippy and Tiggy made their way from the pages of: “The Goblins Looking-Glass” […]

    Dispatch from the field II: Students describe an elusive spider while stationed in Borneo

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  • April 3, 2018
  • A mystery has long shrouded the orb-weaving spider genus Opadometa, where males and females belonging to one and the same species look nothing alike. Furthermore, the males appear to be so elusive that scientists still doubt whether both sexes are correctly linked to each other even in the best-known species. Such is the case for Opadometa sarawakensis – […]

    Spider eat spider: Scientists discover 18 new spider-hunting pelican spiders in Madagascar

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  • January 11, 2018
  • In 1854, a curious-looking spider was found preserved in 50 million-year-old amber. With an elongated neck-like structure and long mouthparts that protruded from the “head” like an angled beak, the arachnid bore a striking resemblance to a tiny pelican. A few decades later when living pelican spiders were discovered in Madagascar, arachnologists learned that their […]