Spiders. Nasty little beggers. Creepy and nasty. But maybe that’s just us…
Scientists in a cave in Southwest Oregon have discovered this vicious little apex predator with massive sickle claws.
Yes, this spider was so unique that he is the first member of a new taxonomic family. The first new spider family to be found in North America in 130 years.
“This is something completely new,” lead author of a paper on the species, Charles Griswold with the California Academy of Sciences, told SFGate. “It’s a historic event.”
The discoverers, who published their description paper in the open-access journal Zoo Keys have named the new species Trogloraptor, or “cave robber,” and they have dubbed a new spider family—Trogloraptoridae—to accommodate what they believe is a primitive spider. The full species name is Trogloraptor marchingtoni after one of its discoverers.
Spanning four centimeters with extended limbs, the spider spins sparse webs on cave ceilings. It is closely related to goblin spiders, but is more primitive.
Scientists know nothing about the species to date – it’s behaviour and what it eats remain a mystery with the spiders dying in the scientists’ captivity as everything they have been offered to eat has been refused so far.
While the spider was discovered in caves near Grants Pass, Oregon, more have since been discovered in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in California.