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18 New Species Of Spider-Eating Spiders Discovered

Pelican Spider

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According to the science journal Zookeys, Scientist has discovered 18 new species of pelican spiders. These are native to remote areas of Madagascar. The Pelican spiders are spiders that eat other spiders. These spiders are as small as a grain of rice. Dr Hannah Wood from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Nikolaj Scharff from the University of Copenhagen leading the group of scientists before this discovery of pelican spiders. The research was mainly focused on spiders of Madagascarchaea and Eriauchenius.

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Pelican Spider

Image Source: Photograph by Nikolaj Scharff

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These new species are six millimetres in size with elongated neck- and beak-like structures.They have resemblance with pelicans archaeid spiders or assassin spiders. The study has been done on hundreds of pelican spiders both from field research in Madagascar and from the pelican spiders kept preserved in the museum and out of 26 spiders, 18 species came out as completely new and these species have never been seen before.The study authors said that pelican spiders are not only famous for their unusual appearance but the way they prey on other spiders with the long “necks” and jaw-like mouthparts, is quite fascinating. Wood said, “These spiders attest to the unique biology that diversified in Madagascar.”

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Pelican Spiders

Image Source: Photograph by Hannah Wood, Smithsonian

The study also reveals that the pelican spiders are active hunters and they reach out to their prey with the help of long silk draglines. They then use their powerful jaws to pierce the body and their long neck used to protect themselves from the victims. The spider maintains a distance until the victim dies.One of the scientists Hannah Wood said, “pelican spiders have a long history and their ancestors lived as long as 165 million years ago as per the fossil records. So, she calls the present day pelican spiders as living fossils”. The main focus of scientists was on genitals and all 2 spiders have been analyzed under a microscope. After analysing all genitals, the scientist came to the conclusion that they have discovered 18 new species of spiders eating pelican spiders.

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