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Two new enigmatic spider species with peculiar living habits from Uruguay

Date:
October 3, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Scientists describe two new spider species from the Nemesiidae family. The representatives of this family live in silk lined burrows covered by a flap-like door that they build for their protection and as an ambush cover when hunting.

This image shows a male Chaco costai.
Credit: Laura Montes De Oca; CC-BY 3.0

The two new species described from Uruguay, Chaco castanea and Chaco costai, are middle sized spiders that range between 1 and 2 cm in body size. Like all Nemesiids they have elongated body and robust legs with predominantly black-brownish coloration. A recent study in the open access journal Zookeys provides a detailed description of the two news species and a rare glimpse into their living habits.

The two new species are typically found in sandy soils of oceanic and river coastal areas associated with psammophyte, or sand-dwelling, vegetation. This is where these peculiar spiders build their silk-lined burrow where they spend great deal of their lives. The burrows are also protected by a flap-like door that makes them particularly hard to find.

"Due to a number of life history characteristics, these spiders are difficult to collect and consequently little is known about their biology,"comments Laura Montes de Oca, Instituto de Investigaciones Biolσgicas Clemente Estable, Uruguay. "Observations in natural conditions let us to know that they are mostly active during night. This knowledge is key to finding the spiders in order to perform the necessary studies, both on field and in laboratory. Remaining in the burrow most of their lives, makes these animals vulnerable to habitat perturbations. In Uruguay the psammophyte vegetation is critically decreasing, so it is very important to study and conserve the species"

Experiments in laboratory environment reveal some of the secrets that the secluded burrow life of these spiders hide. Chaco costai was observed during hunting, when the spiders lift the entrance of the burrow with their front legs. The flap-like door of the spider den provides a perfect cover to ambush and catch the unsuspecting victim. The spiders return to their burrow after catching the prey. Another occasion when the spiders go in the open is during copulation when both the male and the female leave their hiding places. However, they return to the burrows straight after that.


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. Laura Montes de Oca, Fernando Perez-Miles. Two new species of Chaco Tullgren from the Atlantic coast of Uruguay (Araneae, Mygalomorphae, Nemesiidae). ZooKeys, 2013; 337: 73 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.337.5779

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "Two new enigmatic spider species with peculiar living habits from Uruguay." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003111202.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, October 3). Two new enigmatic spider species with peculiar living habits from Uruguay. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003111202.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Two new enigmatic spider species with peculiar living habits from Uruguay." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003111202.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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