Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph

Date:
May 23, 2012
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
An international team of researchers has produced a milestone work, detailing and expanding the knowledge of velvet spiders - an enigmatic, although not very well known family, with some peculiar (for spiders) social habits. The study was published in a special issue of the open access journal ZooKeys.

Velvet spiders include some of the most beautiful arachnids in Europe and some of the world's most cooperative species.
Credit: Image courtesy of Pensoft Publishers

Velvet spiders include some of the most beautiful arachnids in Europe and some of the world's most cooperative species. Social species can be very abundant in parts of tropical Africa and Asia with conspicuous colonies dotting the landscape. Social colonies may consist of hundreds of closely-related individuals that participate in dramatic mass attacks on prey and care for their young. The ecology of these social species is fascinating and has been the subject of several landmark scientific papers.

The study was published in a special issue of the open access journal ZooKeys.

By contrast, most kinds of velvet spider are rarely encountered. Most species keep well hidden or dig burrows and live underground. Because of the cryptic habits of most velvet spiders, scientific knowledge of this spider family is uneven to say the least. The name velvet spider accurately describes the dark and shiny appearance of these spiders. Some species also have brightly colored highlights, such as the red, white, and black ladybird spiders of Europe and North Asia. With the exception of one species from Brazil, velvet spiders live in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The international team assembled to advance basic knowledge about velvet spiders included people and institutions from the Netherlands, Denmark, United States, Czechia, Hungary, and Iran. International collaboration in taxonomic research was the goal of the EDIT (European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy) Integrated Research grant, which provided most of the funding for this project. The team assembled a hefty library of images documenting the anatomy of all the major kinds of velvet spider. This included both portrait-like color photographs and electron micrographs showing details of the spigots that these spiders use to make silk. San Francisco-based artist Giovanni Maki contributed beautiful drawings of the male genitalia. The project also used DNA sequence data to reconstruct the evolutionary history of velvet spiders. The DNA data confirmed that one particularly enigmatic species belongs to a new genus.

In recognition of the fact that this velvet spider lives underground, the new genus has been named Loureedia in a whimsical salute to the musician who began his distinguished career leading the 60s rock band "The Velvet Underground."

In spite of all the progress that this new monograph represents, there is much more work still to be done. Taxonomy is a fundamental science, and advances in it can promote research in other areas. Some of the most obscure groups of velvet spiders from the Mediterranean and Southern Africa will now be more easy to identify and study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeremy Miller, Charles Griswold, Nikolaj Scharff, Milan Rezac, Tamas Szuts, Mohammad Marhabaie. The velvet spiders: an atlas of the Eresidae (Arachnida, Araneae). ZooKeys, 2012; 195 (0): 1 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.195.2342

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523115051.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2012, May 23). Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523115051.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523115051.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins