August 19, 2012

Last week, Arachnophiles all over the world awoke to absolute joy at the discovery of a new family of spiders, the first in North America since 1870.

The discovery was made in a cave system in southern Oregon by a group of amateur spelunkers.

The new spider was given its own taxonomic family instead of species because the Trogloraptoridae exhibits extraordinary evolutionary features, noticeable in the unique hooks on their legs, believed to be used for snatching flying insects. It’s being commonly called the Trogloraptor.

The AP reported Charles Griswold, curator of arachnids at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, as saying, “It took us a long time to figure out what it wasn’t…Even longer to figure out what it is. We used anatomy. We used DNA to understand its evolutionary place. Then we consulted other experts all over the world about what this was. They all concurred with our opinion that this was something completely new to science.”

The discovery is formally logged in the online scientific journal Zookeys.

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