facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

New species of trapdoor spiders described

Dec. 20, 2012 at 8:01 PM   |   Comments

AUBURN, Ala., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A U.S. researcher has reported the discovery of 33 new trapdoor spider species from the American Southwest, bringing the count of species in the genus to 40.

Writing in the journal Zookeys, Jason Bond, director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, called the large find of new species of Aptostichus in the United States and particularly California "remarkable."

"California is known as what is characterized as a biodiversity hot spot. Although this designation is primarily based on plant diversity, the region is clearly very rich in its animal diversity as well," he said.

"While it is absolutely remarkable that a large number of species from such a heavily populated area have gone unnoticed, it clearly speaks volumes to how little we know of the biodiversity around us and that many more species on the planet await discovery."

Trapdoor spiders are rarely seen because they live in below-ground burrows covered by trapdoors made by the spider using mixtures of soil or plant material and silk.

The trapdoor serves to hide the spider when it forages for meals at the burrow entrance, usually at night, Bond said.

They are found in an amazing number of Californian habitats, he said, including coastal sand dunes, chaparral, desert, oak woodland forests and at high altitudes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

"Aptostichus to my mind represents a true adaptive radiation -- a classical situation in evolutionary biology where diversification, or speciation, has occurred such that a large number of species occupy a wide range of different habitats," he said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
1
NASA is sending a 3D printer to the International Space Station NASA is sending a 3D printer to the International Space Station
2
The NSA will now map out the entire Internet The NSA will now map out the entire Internet
3
New scientific discoveries during search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane New scientific discoveries during search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane
4
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
5
Electric supercar race ends in a serious crash Electric supercar race ends in a serious crash
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback