Navigation Links
New species of spiders discovered by UBC scientist in Papua New Guinea
Date:3/25/2009

A University of British Columbia researcher has discovered dozens of species of jumping spiders that are new to science, giving scientists a peek into a section of the evolutionary tree previously thought to be sparse.

Jumping spiders are found in every part of the world except Antarctica. Capable of jumping 30 times their body length, some of the 5,000 documented species are common in households. They come in many shapes and sizes, some resembling ants or beetles.

"Instead of sitting at the centre of a web, jumping spiders found a new way to make a living by wandering around their habitat and pouncing like cats on their prey," says Wayne Maddison, a professor of zoology and botany and director of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC.

Two of the jumping spiders' eight eyes have evolved to be large with high-resolution vision to spot prey. Female jumping spiders also use this heightened visual sense to watch males, who show off their colourful bodies during courtship dances.

Maddison collected more than 500 individual spiders during an expedition with Conservation International (CI) last summer in the Kaijende Uplands, one of Papua New Guinea's largest undeveloped areas. Preliminary studies show as many as 130 species, including 30 to 50 never-before-identified species, may have been found on the trip.

Some of the species discovered are highly distinctive, occupying "lonely" branches on the evolutionary tree of jumping spiders. Further research on these new specimens will shed light on how jumping spiders evolved their unique features a question that continues to puzzle scientists. "Our finding shows that the great age of discovery isn't over by far," says Maddison, who estimates there may be at least 5,000 more species of unidentified jumping spiders in the world.

The CI expedition also identified two new plants, three frogs and a gecko that are believed to be new to science. Maddison says the smaller animals like insects and spiders and plants may hold the secret to many of the world's unknown chemicals.

"Spider venom has evolved for millions of years to affect the neurological systems of the spider's insect prey, and each species of spider gives us another opportunity to find medically useful chemicals," says Maddison. "Jumping spiders with their remarkably miniaturized yet acute eyes could help us understand how to push the limits of vision. In addition to filling in the gaps in our planet's natural history, exploring spider biodiversity and evolution could potentially inform fields as diverse as medicine and robotics."

"More than anything else, it's an amazingly beautiful world and we're simply trying to reveal it," says Maddison, who will be sharing his experience on the expedition during an April 16 public lecture hosted by the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. "There is a whole lot of beauty in these small spiders if we look closely enough."


'/>"/>

Contact: Brian Lin
brian.lin@ubc.ca
604-822-2234
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Tree species composition influences nitrogen loss from forests
2. Malaria immunity trigger found for multiple mosquito species
3. Study predicts when invasive species can travel more readily by air
4. European satellites provide new insight into ozone-depleting species
5. DNA evidence is in, newly discovered species of fish dubbed H. psychedelica
6. Cracking the species code for plants
7. Dealing with taxonomic uncertainty for threatened and endangered species
8. Biodiversity itself begets a species cascade, researchers say
9. New paper offers key insights into how new species emerge
10. 10 new amphibian species discovered in Colombia
11. Researchers first to see reactive oxygen species in vital enzyme
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... DUBAI , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... can be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system ... in the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface ... requirements of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions ... the ID readers into the building installations offer considerable ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016 ... ) ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange is ... users of its soon to be launched online site ... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide potential shareholders ... of DNA technology to an industry that is notorious ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... Newly created 4Sight Medical Solutions ... the healthcare market. The company's primary focus is on new product introductions, to ... that are necessary to help companies efficiently bring their products to market. , ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... TOKYO , June 24, 2016  Regular discussions on ... to take place between the two entities said Poloz. ... in Ottawa , he pointed to the ... and the federal government. ... Poloz said, "Both institutions have common economic goals, why not ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a ... eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research ... by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: