On an expedition to Guyana, scientists were excited to discover several new species of animals, including a handful of beetles and butterflies. However, it was a small iridescent blue tarantula that really took the prize. The surprising arachnid was found hiding in a hollowed-out tree, and it is believed that it was unknown to science.
The spider was found in March 2014 during the second expedition of the Biodiversity Assessment Team, a one-month survey in which researchers for new species in the Kaieteur National Park of Guyana. The discoveries of the expedition have been published recently.
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According to the World Wildlife Foundation, the spider is among the dozens of new species found intact part of Guyana, many of which are believed to be endemic to the isolated area.
The tarantula was originally found by Andrew Snyder, a Ph.D. a student at the University of Mississippi who specializes in reptiles and amphibians in the Guiana Shield, an area of nature that covers 270 million hectares of land that stretches from Guyana to Venezuela, Colombia and northern Brazil. [1
In a blog post about the discovery published by Global Wildlife Conservation, Snyder explained how when his beam of light reflected for the first time a small flash of "brilliant cobalt blue" in a decomposed tree trunk more than a meter high, originally discarded it as simply the eye of an ordinary spider, as they can be reflected in blue when the light is turned on them. However, a closer investigation revealed that the spider that caught its light was far from ordinary.
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"The blue that my ray of light illuminated in fact was not the brightness of a spider, but rather the forelimbs of a small tarantula," wrote Snyder in your blog "I immediately knew that this was different from any species I have encountered before."
It is not yet clear why the creature has those beautiful colors. Snyder said Newsweek that although the creature may seem striking to the human eye, it is possible that this tarantula does not stand out as much as other animals because organisms see the world very differently from humans.
The tarantula is new to science, and maybe even new to the human eye. Although unnamed, the initial analysis suggests that it may belong to a tarantula subfamily known as Ischnocolinae family, Science Alert reported. According to a 2014 study on arachnids, this group is distinguished from other spiders by the division of its tarsal scopula, dense tufts of hair found at the end of the legs of the hunting spiders, especially the tarantulas.