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Kochi arachnologists discovered rare spiders in Western Ghats

The spiders belong to the Sparassidae and Salticidae families.

Apr 4, 2015 14:14 IST
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Kochi arachnologists on 3 April 2015 discovered rare spiders in Western Ghats. Researchers at Division of Arachnology record the sighting of a huntsman and jumping spider in Western Ghats.

The spiders belong to the Sparassidae and Salticidae families. The research team included Dr. Mathew M.J., Fr. Jobi Malamel and Pradeep Kumar M.S. and were led by Dr. P.A. Sebastian, director of the Division of Arachnology.

The huntsman spider was sighted at Ponmudi, while the researchers found the jumping spider at the Malayattoor and Bhoothathankettu reserve forest.

Huntsman spiders are known for their speed and mode of hunting. Sometimes they hide in the ambush and surprise the prey. Some of these spiders have been found making a substrate-borne sound deliberately when they detect a chemical left by a nearby female of their species.

The males anchor themselves firmly to the surface to which they have crawled and use their legs to transmit vibrations from their bodies to the surface. The characteristic frequency of vibration and the pattern of bursts of sound alert the females, who will approach if they are interested in mating.

Jumping spiders prey like a grasshopper, as it jumps from one place to another.

The name Stenaelurillus albus has been given owing to the presence of a unique whitish area on the copulatory organ of the male spider. The discovery is unique as it has the presence of mating plugs that have been reported in only 17 species of the approximate 5800 jumping spiders recorded till now.

Arachnology is the scientific study of spiders and related animals such as scorpions, pseudoscorpions, and harvestmen, collectively called arachnids.

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