Researchers at the Biodiversity Research Centre of Christ College, Irinjalakuda, claimed to have spotted six new species of spiders at Harithavanam (also known as ‘Kuttivanam’) located near the banks of the Aluva Sivarathri manappuram here.
The investigating team had carried out the study coinciding with the World Environment Day on June 5. “The spiders spotted include Argyrodes, which comes from the family of black widow, a notorious venomous spider. It is about the size of a housefly and lives in an irregular web weaved in between green leaves,” said Dr. Sudhikumar A.V., principal investigator.
The researchers spotted two other species belonging to the genus Tetragntha. “The yellow coloured long jawed spider is characterised by four black spots on the back of their abdomen and black bands on the joints of legs. The dorsal surface of abdomen of green-coloured long jawed spider is covered by white coloured scales,” said research scholars Mr. Nafin K.S., and Mr. Sudhin P.P.
The investigating team found the new species of the genus Trachelas, a member of ant mimicking spiders characterised by the presence of eight diamonds like sparkling eyes located in the anterior part of dark brown head.
“Another spider of the genus Dendrolycosa feeds only on insects in water bodies. There are white lines in the brown coloured body and prominent spines on the legs. The eight eyes are located in two rows of inverted U-shaped pattern,” they said.
Dr. Sudhikumar said that the sixth spider comes under the Chrysso genus of comb footed spider family. “This tiny spider builds small webs in between grass blades to catch their prey. It is characterized by black glossy body and brownish legs,” he said. The researchers pointed out that the diversity of species in a comparatively small area like Kuttivanam and the need to protect the ecologically-fragile area.