Washington: Lurking in the darkness of caves in Southeast China, scientists have discovered five new species of armoured spiders.
Distinguished by their peculiar armour-like abdominal pattern, these tropical and subtropical spiders are mainly collected from litter and soil, but like the newly described species some live in caves. Some cave species, but also some soil inhabitants, show typical adaptations of cave spiders, such as loss of eyes. The genus Tetrablemma, for example, to which two of the new species belong, is distinguished by having only 4 eyes.
All these new spiders are collected from the South China Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The South China Karst spans the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan.
Colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences under the leadership of Professor Shuqiang LI have investigated more than 2000 caves in the South China Karst. Several hundred new species of cave spiders are reported by Shuqiang Li and colleagues.
As a result, the total known spider species of China increased from 2300 species to 4300 species in the last 10 years.
The study is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.