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APRIL

01

2019

    ENVIRONMENT & ECOLOGY

    New Species Of Jumping Spiders

    News: Spider research yet to pick up pace in India, say experts.
    Source: The Hindu

    The recent discovery of a new species of jumping spiders in Aarey Colony has had arachnologists — specialists in spiders and related animals — and wildlife experts call for a greater focus on studying spiders in India.

    While the last major research was conducted between the 1990s and 2000s by Dr. ManjuSiliwal, a senior arachnologist who specialises in mygalomorphs, experts believe a lot of diversities of spiders are yet to be discovered in the country.

    Named after additional principal chief conservator of forest, Sunil Limaye, Jerzegosunillimaye was found for the first time in 2016. In the research that spanned over the next three years, researchers were able to understand the natural history of this species and explore interesting aspects that were not documented before.

    While other species of jumping spiders such as the Langelurillus Onyx, LangelurillusLacteus — both described in 2017 — and Piranthusdecorus — recorded for the first time in 122 years in the area — have inhabited the Aarey Colony, more studies pertaining to their complete biology, habits and interactions with other species are yet to be carried out. While there are 4,800 species of spiders in the world, India alone accounts for 1,800 spider species.

    While the research in other parts of the world such as Thailand, Germany, Canada and the United States has been steady, experts said it is yet to pick up pace in India. Spiders are important creatures as they are pest-controllers. They are like the tigers of the microhabitat world. Pulling them out could cause ecological imbalance.

    Without taxonomic studies, one cannot arrive at a proper conclusion till experts are consulted. Besides that, a lot of specimens collected in India are deposited in museums abroad. While describing new species, we have to draw comparisons with what has already been described, by seeing type specimens, which is hard. Most characters used in the 19th century have been revised and updated over the years and without specimens, identification of species being observed becomes difficult. Efforts to improve and enrich the collection of specimens of spiders in India has just begun.