Creepy new spider species discovered at Miami Zoo
Miami, Florida - Arachnophobes beware! There are some newly discovered creepy crawlies making their way around Florida.
The new species of spider looks even creepier than the furry tarantulas.
The Miami Zoo recently announced that they have named the animal the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider.
Frank Ridgley, the zoo's conservation director, told the Daily Star, "To me, it appears similar to a small shiny black tarantula."
Indeed, the creepy-crawly looks like a cross between a scorpion and a spider, and the nasty, slick, black carapace is likely to make arachnophobes break out in a cold sweat.
Frank Ridgley's description doesn't exactly portray a sympathetic picture of the eight-legged beasts:
"They spend their entire lives in that same burrow, waiting for prey to come past their trapdoor, then they lunge out from their camouflaged lair to grab their prey."
Expert raves about the spiders
It took years before it was 100% clear this spider was a new species.
Zoo staff discovered the first specimen by chance in 2012, but the animal escaped. They had to wait two years until they found a second specimen.
The final breakthrough came in April 2021, when Rebecca Godwin, PhD, of Piedmont University in Georgia, identified the creepy-crawly as a new species.
She suspects that the females can live about 20 years and the males only about seven, because the females kill the males after the first mating.
The difference in size may also play a role in the "murder": while the males are only about the size of a quarter, the females are two to three times as large.
By the way, Pine Rockland trapdoor spiders are also venomous. Fortunately, their venom only has the same effect on humans as a wasp bite.
Doctor Godwin enthused, "They're really quite beautiful spiders."
Some might take pleasure in the expert's biggest concern, which is that the Pine Rockland trapdoor spider's habitat may be threatened and the animals may soon become extinct.
Cover photo: Collage: 123RF/Mykola, Facebook/Screenshot/@ZooMiamiConservation