Woman Discovers New Species Of Venomous Spider With Eight Eyes In Backyard
An amateur zoologist from Australia has encountered a brand new species of spider in her very own backyard.
While taking out the recycling one day some 18 months ago, Amanda De George – who runs the Backyard Zoology Facebook page – clocked the venomous, eight-eyed creature sitting on the lid of the bin.
De George, from Thirroul, south of Sydney, wasn’t able to get a good picture of the spider at the time as it was ‘pretty dark by this point’. However, the photo quickly caught the attention of Melbourne spider expert Joseph Schubert, who asked De George to catch it so he could examine it.
In June, De George spotted the jumping spider again. She was then able to capture and transport two of them to Schubert in containers packed with tissue paper.
It was at this point that she received confirmation this type of spider was unknown, with scientists due to give it a name following examination.
De George told Daily Mail Australia:
I thought it was incredibly beautiful with its bright blue face and eyes but didn’t realise how special it was.
By the time I was told it was a species new to science it was long gone. It took me three-and-a-half months of full on searching to find another specimen. So that was the hard part! The capturing was easy!
De George, who described the discovery as a ‘bucket list moment’, added:
Honestly it is so exciting! It feels so nice to be able to contribute something to science.
I’m just an amateur nature lover and could never have imagined that this is something I would or even could do.
The spider, which measures in at just 4mm, is part of the Jotus genus group. This group includes other jumping spiders found in Australia and New Zealand, whose identifying features include bushy front legs and a black stripe bordered by white.
According to ABC News, there are currently 14 named spider species within the Jotus genus, five of which were identified in 2019 by Schubert and two other scientists.
One of the new species was the Jotus karllagerfeldi, a black and white spider christened after the stylish fashion designer Karl Lagerfield.
The spiders are said to be harmless to human beings, however they are active hunters and will inject venom into their unlucky prey.
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CreditsBackyard Zoology/Facebook and 2 others
Daily Mail Australia
ABC News Australia