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Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph
Date:5/23/2012

Velvet spiders include some of the most beautiful arachnids in Europe and some of the world's most cooperative species. Social species can be very abundant in parts of tropical Africa and Asia with conspicuous colonies dotting the landscape. Social colonies may consist of hundreds of closely-related individuals that participate in dramatic mass attacks on prey (Figure 1) and care for their young. The ecology of these social species is fascinating and has been the subject of several landmark scientific papers. The study was published in a special issue of the open access journal ZooKeys.

By contrast, most kinds of velvet spider are rarely encountered. Most species keep well hidden or dig burrows and live underground. Because of the cryptic habits of most velvet spiders, scientific knowledge of this spider family is uneven to say the least. The name velvet spider accurately describes the dark and shiny appearance of these spiders. Some species also have brightly colored highlights, such as the red, white, and black ladybird spiders of Europe and North Asia (Figure 2). With the exception of one species from Brazil, velvet spiders live in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The international team assembled to advance basic knowledge about velvet spiders included people and institutions from the Netherlands, Denmark, United States, Czechia, Hungary, and Iran. International collaboration in taxonomic research was the goal of the EDIT (European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy) Integrated Research grant, which provided most of the funding for this project. The team assembled a hefty library of images documenting the anatomy of all the major kinds of velvet spider. This included both portrait-like color photographs and electron micrographs showing details of the spigots that these spiders use to make s
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Contact: Jeremy Miller
jeremy.miller@ncbnaturalis.nl
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

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Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph
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