KERALA FORESTS HOME TO NEW SPIDER SPECIES
What’s in news?
A group of jumping spiders has been spotted for the first time in Ernakulam’s Illithodu forests by arachnologists from Kochi’s Sacred Heart College, Thevara.
- A group of jumping spiders that mostly occur in the parts of Eurasia and Africa but never in India till now.
- The team also found that the spider belonging to the genus “Habrocestum” is a species new to science.
- The team came across the different-looking spiders — six of them, predominantly brownish-black in colour with white and creamy-yellow patches while conducting a routine survey in the Illithodu reserve forests of the Malayatoor forest division.
- In the laboratory, they underwent a probe of the physical features of males and females and also they were compared with the similar-looking spider specimens collected earlier from the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary.
- Studies of European Habrocestumspiders revealed that the spiders from Illithode forest division are a new species as they had distinctly different reproductive organs.
- The spider also has a single long spine on the underside of both its first legs, and this gave it its scientific name Habrocestumlongispinumand measures just around 2 mm and seems to prefer dry habitats, dwelling in forest.
- Threats could include unregulated tourism activities and even climate change.
- Finally, the discovery also lends support to the continental drift theory that suggests that the world’s continents were one large, contiguous landmass where these creatures thrived many millions of years ago.
- Jumping spidersare a group of spiders that constitute the family Salticidae. As at 1 February 2019, this family contained 636 described genera and 6115 described species making it the largest family of spidersat 13% of all species.
- Jumping spiders have some of the best vision among arthropods and use it in courtship, hunting, and navigation.
- Jumping spiders are generally recognized by their eye pattern. All jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes, with the anterior median pair being particularly large.
- Jumping spiders are generally diurnal, active hunters. Their well-developed internal hydraulic system extends their limbs by altering the pressure of body fluid within them. This enables the spiders to jump without having large muscular legs like a grasshopper. Most jumping spiders can jump several times the length of their bodies.