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Two miniature spider species discovered in Giant Panda Sanctuaries of China

Date:
May 22, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Two tiny, bizarre shaped spider species have been discovered in the Sichuan province and Chongqing city of China. The two species belong to the understudied Mysmenidae family, which prove difficult to find due to their small size (under 2 mm in total) and their cryptic lifestyle habits.
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This image shows one of the newly discovered species -- Mysmena wawuensis.
Credit: Shuqiang Li; CC-BY 3.0

Two new minute spider species have been discovered from the Sichuan and Chongqing, China. The tiny new spiders are both less than 2 mm in length, with Trogloneta yuensis being as little as 1.01 mm and Mysmena wawuensis measured to be the even tinier 0.75 mm, which classes it among the smallest spiders known. The two species described in the open access journal Zookeys both have a bizarre body shape with disproportionately big spherical posterior body.

The family Mysmenidae to which the new species belong is composed of minute eight-eyed spiders. There are a relatively small number of these spiders recognized worldwide despite scientists expect that many new species are still awaiting discovery. Mysmenidae are one of the least studied groups among orb-weaving spiders which is believed to be due to their small size.

Being extremely minute, up to 2 mm in total and having cryptic lifestyle these creatures become rather hard to find. The spiders live in moist leaf litter, and their obscure places such as moss and even caves and they prefer very humid habitats. Spiders from this family are believed to widely throughout the tropical and subtropical regions.

The two new species found in China are considered endemic to their type localities in the Sichuan and Chongqing. The region of Wawu Mt. National Forest Park, where Mysmena wawuensis was discovered is also remarkable for holding a small population of wild giant panda of about 10 individuals. A recent survey shows that 1206 individuals of giant panda are currently living in Sichuan, which makes the region remarkable with about 76% of the whole wild panda population in China being concentrated there attesting for the great biodiversity of the province.


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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. Yucheng Lin, Shuqiang Li. Two new species of the genera Mysmena and Trogloneta (Mysmenidae, Araneae) from Southwestern China. ZooKeys, 2013; 303: 33 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.303.4808

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Pensoft Publishers. "Two miniature spider species discovered in Giant Panda Sanctuaries of China." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522095813.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, May 22). Two miniature spider species discovered in Giant Panda Sanctuaries of China. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522095813.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Two miniature spider species discovered in Giant Panda Sanctuaries of China." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522095813.htm (accessed May 27, 2015).

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