Thursday 19 October 2017

Over 50 new species of spider have been discovered in Australia and excuse us while we freak out

By Georgia Humphreys

Some of them are “the size of dinner plates”. Yikes.

More than 50 new species of spider have been discovered during an expedition in Australia, including some which are the size of dinner plates.

Probably a tad bigger than any eight-legged friend you’ve found in your bedroom in the UK, we’re guessing…

via GIPHY

A team of researchers from the Queensland Museum and Macquarie University, along with indigenous rangers and traditional owners, spent two weeks on the Cape York Peninsula collecting and examining spiders. The expedition was part of the Bush Blitz discovery project, a program between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch.

And we thought we’d introduce you to some of the new species they found – first up, the Saddle-legged trapdoor spider.

FYI, all trapdoor spiders hide away in burrows while waiting for their prey and some of them make doors to their burrows. So scarily organised.

Some pretty athletic spiders were also found. Jumping spiders are known for – surely you know where this is going – jumping up to 50 times their body length. Oh, and they also have eight eyes; no biggie.

Ants better watch out because a new species of ant-eating spider were found – they mimic their prey so they can hunt them easily. Bit mean, really…

And there’s also video footage of one of the discoveries – the male “swift spider” can wave its fuzzy front legs around like a mosquito.

We never said it would be pleasant viewing, OK?

Australia may have great BBQs and amazing beaches but they can keep their wildlife, thanks.

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