Really bad news, arachnophobes: Scientists have recently discovered over 50 new species of spider in Queensland, Australia, in just two weeks.
The new species were discovered during a two-week expedition by 23 researchers from the Queensland Museum, Macquarie University, and Bush Blitz to Quinkan Country in Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula. Although currently more famous for its Aboriginal rock art, the researchers say this northeastern tip of Australia could become known as “the spider capital of Australia.”
Among the finds are a new species of scuba diving tarantula, a trapdoor spider, a jumping spider, a fuzzy-legged swift spider, and a sneaky ant-eating spider that mimic ants to hunt them without being detected.
The researchers said the discoveries were only made possible by working closely with the indigenous rangers of Quinkan Country, who say this is the first time the biodiversity of West Quinkan had been scientifically surveyed.
New species of Brush-footed Trap-door spider – Mygalomorphae Barychelidae Idiomata sp.© R. Whyte
Bush Blitz is an Australian government-funded ecological research body that is no stranger to discovering new species. Since the program began in 2010, they have found 1,139 new fauna species, including a fish, 17 slugs and snails, three scorpions, and 92 bees. A previous expedition in 2015 near the Olkola aboriginal land discovered 13 new spider species.
“We’ve undertaken 34 Expeditions, but it’s likely this expedition will yield the greatest number of new species discoveries so far,” Jo Harding, manager at Bush Blitz, said in a statement. “With over 1,200 new species discovered by Bush Blitz already, we are slowly filling gaps in our knowledge of Australia’s biodiversity.”
A new species of “swift spider” – Gnaphosidae Ceryerda. © R. Whyte
New species of ant-eating spider – Zodariidae Habronestes. © R. Whyte