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APRIL

06

2019

    SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

    Kerala Forests Home To New Spider Species

    News: Two big festivals add zing to Berhampur polls.
    Source: The Hindu

    A group of jumping spiders that mostly occur in Eurasia and Africa, has been spotted for the first time in Ernakulam’sIllithodu forests by arachnologists from Kochi’s Sacred Heart College, Thevara. The team also found that the spider belonging to the genus (a taxonomic classification above species) Habrocestum is a species new to science.

    The team came across the different-looking spiders — six of them, predominantly brownish-black in colour with white and creamy-yellow patches — while conducting a routine survey (funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Engineering Research Board) for ground-dwelling spiders in the Illithodu reserve forests of the Malayatoor forest division, barely 60 km from here. Back in their laboratory, they examined the physical features of males and females. They also compared these to similar-looking spider specimens collected earlier from the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary.

    A detailed examination of the spiders’ physical features revealed that they belong to the genus Habrocestum that has been recorded mostly in Eurasia and Africa and never in India, till now. Comparisons with studies of European Habrocestum spiders revealed that the spiders from Illithode are a new species altogether, for they had distinctly different reproductive organs.