New Species of Assassin Spiders Discovered

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According to the California Academy of Sciences nine new species of assassin spiders (such as the one pictured above) have been discovered in Madagascar:

These tiny arachnids in the Archaeidae family are only about 2 mm (less than 1/8 inch) long, but their bizarre fangs and spider-hunting practices have earned them a reputation as the world’s most grotesque spiders. They hunt by stabbing their prey with venom-filled fangs that are attached to the ends of extremely elongated jaws. These specialized jaws are about ten times longer than the jaws of most other spiders their size. To support these long jaws and prevent them from dragging along the ground, Assassin spiders have also evolved elongated necks.

*snip*

Surprisingly, the DNA data also revealed that the presence of elongated necks among Archaeidae spiders had evolved at least two separate times. A classic example of convergent evolution, her findings suggest that the need to strike out at prey from a distance encouraged the evolution of extended body parts on more than one occasion.

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9 Responses

  1. Argh! You beat me to this by four minutes :) My picture is bigger though ;)

  2. I have nothing really to say except…these guys are just so neat!

  3. John – Sorry about that, look at the brightside though – at least we both beat PZ to it. I did resize mine down because I can never remember the size the powers that be want us to be under.
    Carl – Very cool critters!

  4. In six months, Sci-fi channel is going to have a monster movie with these guys, mutated – because of a nasty mayor allowing a pesticide dump – to the size of a house. Wanna bet?

  5. I hear the sequel will be named “Assassin Spider vs. Boa”

  6. Let’s hope the special effects are better.

  7. Why is it that everyone who speaks of this spider and holds articles; they all have the same picture…..i need more pics….how do we know it is not fake? all of you have the same pic?

  8. Follow the link and you will find out why most of us have the same pic. It’s the only one the California Academy of Sciences released in conjunction with the press release. Although the nine species mentioned are new to science assassin spiders in general are not…so the picture above isn’t unbelievable…

  9. Ok now this is a messed up spider. O.O I mean, ive seen some screwed up thing but… i mean look at it! its.. weird… i like it.

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