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:2/3/2016)... -- Vigilant Solutions announces today that the ... solved two recent hit-and-run cases with the ... Solutions. Brian Wenberg explains, "I was ... out of a convenience store and witnessed an elderly male back out ... his vehicle and leaving the scene.  In his statement ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements Accelerate ... an analysis of the digital and computed radiography markets ... , and Indonesia (TIM). ... and market size, as well as regional market drivers ... and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, both for ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Wocket® smart wallet ( www.wocketwallet.com ) announces ... personality, Joey Fatone . Las Vegas , ... --> Las Vegas , where Joey appeared ... The new video ad was filmed at the Consumer Electronics Show ... the Wocket booth to meet and greet fans. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016 Ascendis Pharma A/S ... that applies its innovative TransCon technology to address significant ... an upcoming investor conference.Event:2016 Leerink Partners Global Healthcare Conference ... , Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Time:  , 11:55am ... . --> An audio webcast of this ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) , ... February 03, 2016 ... ... to hospitals, has established a new office dedicated to the North American healthcare ... provide turnkey solutions to healthcare facilities. The company will provide new pneumatic ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... 03, 2016 , ... Resilinc released online today ... nearly 750 unique supply chain notifications and alerts generated by its EventWatch ... risk management practitioners subscribe to the EventWatch service to receive early warnings and ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... February 03, 2016 , ... ... new products to aid in the rapid development and ongoing quality control of ... Zika Virus outbreak is extremely high,” Dr. Gregory R. Chiklis, President and CEO ...
Breaking Biology Technology: