Thrissur: Eight new species of spiders were claimed to have been spotted in the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve by researchers at the Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology at the nearby Christ College.
The new species were spotted during a recent "spider diversity exploration survey" by the Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology (CATE) in association with officials from the Tiger Reseve and Forest Department.
A V Sudhirkumar, Head, CATE, who led the team of researchers said they had prepared an inventory of more than 200 species. Some species are endemic to Western Ghats, others are similar to those in the African region and others to those in the Malayan region.
The newly-spotted species in the 391 sq km Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Palakkad district were net casting spider of genus Deinopis family, fishing spider of the genus Dolomedes, bird dropping spider of the genus Calaenea, new species of the genus Haploclastus, another new species of the genus Stenaelurillus, green spotted Neoscona spider of the family Araneidae, Hasarious of family Salticidea, and Stenochilus of family Stenochilidea.
He said spotting of net casting spider was the most interesting one. It spreads its web in the first four legs and waits for the prey to come. When the prey came close, it threw its web into the prey's body forcing the prey to entangle in the sticky web.
The fishing spider lives in the vegetation nearby water bodies and can catch small fish from the water body. It is also capable of living under the water for few minutes.
The bird dropping spider usually holds its legs and keeps very close to its body and remains immobile so as to look perfectly like a bird dropping. When a suitable prey came close by, it suddenly catches the prey by its ambushing behaviour. Other species of this genus is so far reported from the Australian region, he said.
A new species of the genus Haploclastus is an inhabitant of the evergreen forest. It usually lives in the potholes made on the ground.
Stenaelurillus with contrasting red and blue line on the forehead region, exhibits its colours during the nuptial dance for attracting its female partner. Other species of this genus are darker. The green spotted Neoscona spider of the family Araneidae is also new to the scientific world, he said.