New Crab Spider Species Discovered in India

Posted on May 24, 2015

Thomisus telanganensis crab spider

A new species of crab spider has been discovered in India. The new species, Thomisus telanganensis, was named after the state (Telangana) in southern India where it was found. The common name for the spider is the Telangana Crab-spider.

The researchers found the new species during an expedition at Nagnur. The spiders were collection in a grassland. This type of spider does not spin webs. It hunts insects by ambushing them on flowers and immobilizing them with venom. They are commonly known as crab spiders because they can walk sideways like a crab. They are also known as flower spiders.

The spiders were discovered by G.B. Pravalikha and Assistant Professor Chelmala Srinivasulu. Dr. Srinivasulu told The Hindu that the crab spiders are important to the ecosystem in India. He says, "They are important to the ecosystem as they act as bio-controlling agents to keep the insect population under control. They are between 3 mm and 23 mm in size with their colour varying from bright and colourful to dull. They are usually found in plants, shrubs, grasses, flowering plants, leaf litter and sometimes under stones."

There are 44 other known species that belong to the genus Thomisus and 43 of them are found in mainland India. A research paper on the new crab spider species can be found here (PDF file) in the journal, Journal of Threatened Taxa.

Photo: G. Chethan Kumar/Journal of Threatened Taxa