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Newly Discovered: Spider with Gruesome Claws

Arachnophobics, skip this post. For the rest of you, may I introduce you to a new and rare species of spider (so rare that it has its own taxonomic genus and even family to itself) found in the caves of southern Oregon.

Meet the Trogloraptor marchingtoni:


Image: Griswold CE, Audisio T, Ledford JM

The species is named after Neil Marchington, a member of the Western Cave Conservancy, who first discovered the spider. The genus name, Trogloraptor, means "cave robber."


Raptor-like claws of the Trogloraptor. Image: Griswold CE, Audisio T, Ledford JM

It's an apt name for a spider with unique hooks, or claws, on its legs, which the researchers believe are used to snatch flying insects, like midges, out of the air. With its legs outstretched, the spider measures up to 3 inches (8 centimeters) long.

"They're biggish," Griswold said. "But when you're in a cave and it's dark and there's only the beam of your head lamp, they look much bigger. It's quite astonishing to see them hanging from a few threads." [...]

Griswold said this discovery could help explain why there are legends about giant spiders living in caves in this region. And perhaps there are other similar species yet to be found; many caves, especially in the western United States, remain little studied.

Read more over at Our Amazing Planet: Link


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