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:5/12/2016)... 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a brand of ... results from the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables ... consumers, receptivity to a program where they would receive ... insurance company. "We were surprised to see ... Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... GOTHENBURG, Sweden , April 28, 2016 ... 1,491.2 M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of ... Operating profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating ... SEK 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was ... , The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... CHICAGO , April 15, 2016  A ... companies make more accurate underwriting decisions in a ... offering timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance ... health screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid ... and lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with ... tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding ... CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer ... data will then be employed to support the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled ... cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous ... (CTCs). The new test has already been incorporated ... multiple cancer types. Over 230 clinical ... response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in clinical research ... Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio revisits the ... tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how patients receive ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
Breaking Biology Technology: