In Living Color
Seemingly spray-painted, this new tarantula, Typhochlaena costae, is one of nine colorful—and rare—tree-dwelling tarantulas recently discovered in Brazil, a new study says.
Tree-dwelling tarantulas typically have a lithe build, with thinner bodies and longer legs than other tarantulas. This makes them more agile and thus better suited for stalking prey in trees. The ends of their legs also have unusually large tips, helping them climb a variety of surfaces.
Tree-dwelling spiders lurk in the tropics of Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and the Caribbean. This species was discovered in the Brazilian cerrado, a savanna-like environment. Like the other new vibrant species, T. costa loses its bright coloration as it grows.
"Brazil is the country with the richest tarantula fauna in the world," said study leader Rogério Bertani, a tarantula specialist at the Instituto Butantan in São Paulo, Brazil.
"Tarantulas are wonderful spiders, but they are poorly studied in many aspects," Bertani said.
(Watch a video of the world's largest spider.)