Researchers discover six new Spider species with one from Black Widow family in Kerala

Six new species of spiders have been discovered in Kuttivanam district in Kerala. The six new species have been discovered by the members of the Biodiversity Research Center of Christ College in Irinjalakuda. Earlier in 2014 the same team had discovered three unknown species at the proposed airport site at Aranmula.

The six spider species were discovered at Harithavanam. The region is located in the proximity of the banks of Aluva Sivarathri Manappuram River. The six spider species comes under the genus Argyrodes, Trachelas, Dendrolycosa, Tetragntha, and Chrysso. The researchers from Christ College had commenced their detailed investigation on June 5 which incidentally is World Environment Day.

Dr. Sudhikumar, who is the principal investigator, said that his team has unearthed a spider species named Argyrodes and it belongs to a highly venomous and famous spider family –black widow. As the name suggests, the female spiders of this family kill and eat their partners after nuptials. Argyrodes is the size of a housefly and lives in an irregular web weaved in between green leaves.

Two species come under the genus Tetragntha. It is a yellow colored spider and has long jaws. The species can be easily identified by its prominent four dark spots on the back of their abdomen and dark bands on the joints of legs. The spider is covered by white colored scales on the dorsal surface of its abdomen.

The fourth new spider belongs to the genus Tracheal. The spider can be identified by its eight diamonds like sparkling eyes on its dark brown head.

The fifth spider belongs to genus Dendrolycosa and is identified by white lines on the brown colored body with visual spines. It has four pairs of eyes in inverted u shaped pattern in two rows.

The sixth spider belongs to Chrysso genus and is also known as the comb-footed spider family. The spider is characterized by its glossy black body and brown legs. The small spider catches its prey by building small webs in between grass blades.