Florida zoo discovers new species of large spider
MIAMI, Fla. (WWSB) - Florida has a reputation as being the “Australia of America” with a long list of animals that outsiders consider to be terrifying. A recent discovery by Zoo Miami is doing nothing to quash that stereotype.
A zookeeper at Zoo Miami discovered a brand new species of a large venomous spider in a reptile trap in 2012.
The zookeeper shared the photo of the spider with the Zoo’s Conservation and Research Department for identification but it didn’t match any existing records for known species in the region.
A few years later, a similar spider was found in South Florida. Entomologists have discovered that this type of spider was previously unidentified, according to Dr. Rebecca Godwin of Piedmont College in Georgia.
Spiders of this type are usually habitat specialists and can live for decades in the same burrow for their entire life. They are known to be some of the longest lived spider species known. At this time, it has not been documented for 35 years anywhere else except the pine rockland fragments around Zoo Miami.
Considering only about 1.5% of the pine rocklands outside Everglades National Park are left in Miami-Dade County, it is likely that this endemic and elusive spider is already imperiled.
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