Love in the Time of Tarantulas: New Spider Shocks Scientists
Named after author Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian spider was identified in part because males have uniquely serrated genitals.
Tarantula lovers know to avoid the bristles that cover their favorite giant arachnids. Getting a face full of these stinging bristles can be deadly for small mammals, and in humans they create an annoying itch.
But recently, a closer look at the irksome barbs proved fortunate for arachnologists from universities in Uruguay and Colombia. The team noticed that the rust-colored barbs on a tarantula found near Colombia’s Caribbean coast formed a pattern that looked nothing like the hairs found on other tarantulas.
Males of these particular spiders also have strange genitalia covered with serrated ridges, leading the scientists to realize that the animal belongs to a completely new genus and species, as they describe today in the journal ZooKeys.
The team named