Stretching 8 inches across -- from leg to leg -- this newly discovered tarantula is not something many would be excited to stumble upon.
Researchers think they've discovered a new species of tarantula. (Photo: Ranil Nanayakkara via Wired)
Wired reported the new arachnid was discovered in northern Sri Lanka in not-so-surprising areas like trees but also in some more eye brow-raising locations like an old hospital.
“They are quite rare,” discoverer Ranil Nanayakkara said, according to Wired. “They prefer well-established old trees, but due to deforestation the number have dwindled and due to lack of suitable habitat they enter old buildings.”
Poecilotheria rajaei, related to the Goliath bird-eating spider, has distinct markings researchers believe differentiate it from other species.
Here's more from Wired on the new spider:
The spider’s unique leg markings include geometric patterns with daffodil-yellow and grey inlays on the first and fourth legs. It was first seen during a Sri Lankan arachnid survey led by Ranil Nanayakkara, co-founder of Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity Education and Research. In October 2009, a local villager presented Nanayakkara and his team with a dead male specimen that didn’t resemble knownPoecilotheria in the area. Before the team could begin describing the presumptive new species, they needed more individuals. Scouring the semi-evergreen, forested area for females and juveniles required the help of police inspector Michael Rajakumar Purajah, who accompanied the team through areas just beginning to recover from a civil war. Eventually, the team found enough spiders — including the ones hiding in a hospital — to assemble a detailed description of the new arachnids.
Check out this video of the tarantula:
Some are wary of calling it a new species just yet though, hoping for DNA sequencing someday could confirm beyond just physical differences that it is in fact a distinct species in the genus.
In other tarantula news, a slightly smaller species was recently rescued from a home in Amittyville, New York.
The Suffolk County SPCA was called when a homeowner found a rose-haired tarantula in a container on their front porch. This species, CBS New York reported, is more "docile" than others but still venomous.
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