New Tarantula Species Named After Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Posted on July 6, 2016

Kankuamo marquezi

A newly discovered species of tarantula has been named after author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It was discovered in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. The Colombian tarantula is also a new genus. Researchers say the tarantula can use its stinging hairs in a direct attack against a predator.

The tarantula has been named Kankuamo marquezi. Marquezi honors the author of Love in the Time of Cholera. The genus Kankuamo honors an indigenous people from the Caribbean coast region. The research team was led by Carlos Perafán, University of the Republic, Uruguay.

The tarantula has special hairs that form a small oval patch of lance-shaped barbs. Other tarantulas in the subfamily need to first face an offender and then vigorously rub their hind legs against their stomachs to deliver the barbs. The newly discovered species is able to ram its rear end into its attacker to deliver the barbs. Popular Science says, "They literally fight with their butts."

An attack with the stinging hairs can be fatal to a small mammal. A bald spot is left on the tarantula after the barbed hairs are used.

A research paper on the new tarantula species was published here in the journal ZooKeys.

Photo: Dirk Weinmann