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:3/14/2016)... , Allemagne, March 14, 2016 ... ) - --> - Renvoi : image ... --> --> ... biométriques, fournit de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales pour ... de DERMALOG sera utilisé pour produire des cartes ...
(Date:3/10/2016)...   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today ... is testing its biometric identity solution at the Otay Mesa ... help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... help determine the efficiency and accuracy of using biometric technologies ... run until May 2016. --> the United ...
(Date:3/8/2016)...   Valencell , the leading innovator in ... secured $11M in Series D financing. The investment ... fund being launched by UAE-based financial services company ... TDF Ventures and WSJ Joshua Fund. Valencell plans ... growth and accelerate its pioneering innovation in accurate ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Thailand’s Board of Investment’s New York ... Francisco. Located at booth number 7301, representatives from the Thai Government, research organizations, ... Thai biotechnology and life sciences sector. , Deputy Secretary General of the ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... WEDI, the nation’s leading authority on ... that Charles W. Stellar has been named by the WEDI Board of Directors as ... As an executive leader with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, association ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... , ... Last week, Callan Capital, an integrated wealth management firm specializing in ... San Diego Life Science event at the Estancia La Jolla Resort and Spa. , ... speakers Dr. Rich Heyman, former CEO of Aragon and Seragon, and Faheem Hasnain, former ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... -- Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry will ... ET before the United States House Committee on Science, Space ... in controlling the spread of the Aedes aegypti ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150630/227348 ) Oxitec has ... Trials in Brazil , Panama ...
Breaking Biology Technology: