Two new species of spider found in Mumbai’s Aarey Milk Colony

This is for the first time that a jumping spider of an African genus is being reported from Mumbai.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Sep 08, 2017, 19:05 PM IST
Two new species of spider found in Mumbai’s Aarey Milk Colony

New Delhi: A team of researchers has managed to discover two extremely small-sized jumping spiders at Aarey Milk, in Goregaon, Mumbai.

This is for the first time that a jumping spider of an African genus is being reported from Mumbai.

The new species Langelurillus onyx is a 4.67mm shiny black-coloured spider whose cephalothorax (fused head and thorax) is bordered with a band of white hair resembling ‘oxide mineral’ due to which the researchers chose to name it onyx, meanwhile the other species Langelurillus lacteus, which is even smaller — measuring 4.03mm — and has a milky white band of hair behind the anterior eyes, and thus the name lacteus.

The discovery by researchers Rajesh Sanap, Anuradha Joglekar, Dhruv Prajapati and John Caleb was published on September 6 in Zootaxa — a peer-reviewed scientific mega journal for animal taxonomists.

“Onyx is found in Gujarat as well as Maharashtra while lacteus is only reported in Mumbai,” informed Sanap an Andheri-based researcher who has been documenting the biodiversity of Aarey.

According to Sanap the entire discovery was a challenge right from the start as it’s not easy to spot a spider whose mature adult is just 4mm.

“It was while doing macro photography we came across these tiny spiders jumping around leaf litter and seeing them it was clear that they were different, thus we began the identification process,” said Sanap who contacted John Caleb, Research Associate at the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).

It was Caleb who verified that while these two spiders were new species they belonged to a spider of genus Langelurillus, which were from Africa after discussion and consultation with several expert archaeologists.

As per the team involved in the research, spiders are microhabitat specialists and help in regulating insect populations as well as are good indicators of the health of the ecosystem.

(DNA)