March 14, 2014
Five New Species Of Armored Spiders Discovered Lurking In The Darkness Of Chinese Caves
Armored spiders are medium to small species that derive their name from the complex pattern of the plates covering their abdomen strongly resembling body armor. Lurking in the darkness of caves In Southeast China, scientists discover and describe five new species of these exciting group of spiders. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
All these new spiders are collected from the South China Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The South China Karst spans the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan. It is noted for its karst features and landscapes as well as rich biodiversity. UNESCO describes the South China Karst as "unrivalled in terms of the diversity of its karst features and landscapes."
Colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences under the leadership of Professor Shuqiang LI have investigated more than 2000 caves in the South China Karst. Several hundred new species of cave spiders are reported by Shuqiang Li and colleagues. As a result, the total known spider species of China increased from 2300 species to 4300 species in the last 10 years.