Ten New Cobweb Spider Species Discovered in Madagascar

Posted on July 6, 2015

Scientists have discovered ten new species of cobweb spiders in Madagascar. A research team led by Dr. Ingi Agnarsson from the University of Vermont examined nearly 400 Madagascan spider colonies. The Madagascan cobweb spider pictured above, Anelosimus darwini, is named after Charles Darwin.

The newly discovered spiders all belong to the Anelosimus genus. Most of them are endemic to a single forest. Six of the new species were named after figures within the field of evolutionary biology, including Darwin, Wallace, Huxley, Buffon, Hooker and Lamarck. Another of the new species, A. moramora, (pictured below) is named after the Madagascan motto meaning "no rush" or "take it easy."

The researchers point out that the discovery of many new species in an area that is currently being deforested stresses the need for additional samplings and exploration. They say the biodiversity in the region is "mostly unexplored and undescribed in terms of many arthropod groups, such as spiders." The researchers also say that the California Academy of Sciences is one of the few institutions to have thoroughly looked into Madagascan spider research.

A research paper on the newly discovered subsocial spider species can be found here in the journal, Zookeys.

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