18 Feb 2014

New spider species discovered in Kerala

Aranmula: Three new species of spiders have been discovered near the proposed airport site at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala.

The research team, led by AV Sudhikumar, an arachnologist with the Zoology Department of Christ College, Irinjalakuda, has discovered three new and eight rare species of spiders on the proposed airport site.

The research team has also found about 45 different species of spiders from the state during a month-long study.

The three spider species spotted at the site include Genus Cybaeus of Cybaeidae family, Genus Micromata of Sparassidae family and Genus Orthobula of Corinnidae family.

Cybaeus variety, generally nest in the dried leaves of plants and are considered nocturnal, whereas Micromata hides prey upon insects by hiding in the green leaves of plants. Orthobula commonly resides on fallen leaves on the ground and is also considered nocturnal.

Genus Neoscona of Araneidae family has also been been spotted for the first time in India. The details of the discovery will be presented at an international conference on spider research in Italy in July.

The controversial airport project which is proposed to be built on about 700 acres (2.8 sq. km) of land has been facing strong protest from environmentalists and local people as well as the opposition parties in Kerala as it will have grave impact on the environmental diversity of the ecologically-sensitive area.

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