New spider species found in urban setting

May 8, 2012 at 8:02 PM
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AUBURN, Calif., May 8 (UPI) -- Researchers at Auburn University say they've discovered a previously unknown trapdoor spider species in the heart of the city of Auburn, Ala.

The discovery in a long-urbanized area highlights how much remains to be revealed about life in our own world, Auburn biology Professor Jason Bond said.

"The discovery of a new species in a well-developed area like this further demonstrates the amount of biodiversity on our planet that remains unknown; we know so little about our home planet and the other organisms that inhabit it with us," Bond said.

The new species, Myrmekiaphila tigris, has been affectionately dubbed the Auburn Tiger Trapdoor spider in honor of Auburn University's costumed Tiger mascot, Aubie, a university release reported Tuesday.

Trapdoor spiders construct subterranean burrows that they cover with a hinged door made of a mixture of silk and soil, and females spend nearly their entire lives in the single silk-lined burrow from which they forage as sit-and-wait predators.

Burrows can often be found in relatively young, secondary growth forests in natural areas of urban neighborhoods, the researchers said.

The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

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