January 6, 2009

New poisonous spider species found

A new, colorful poisonous spider species has been discovered in south Moravia, Czech Republic researchers said.

The spider, whose bite triggers a fever accompanied by headache, has been dubbed Eresus Moravicus, the Moravian ladybird spider, and listed in the World Spider Catalog, Czech news agency CTK reported Tuesday.

It can be found in the reserves where remains of the Pannonian steppes are preserved, said Milan Rezac, associated with Research Institute of Crop Production in Prague.

He said he found the Moravian ladybird spider near Mikulov in south Moravia. The arachnid lives in underground dens, which Rezac said explained why it is difficult to find in the wild.

Male Moravian ladybird spiders have a distinctive black-and-red coloring and resemble a ladybird, while females are bigger, and have black-and-orange coloring, he said.

The species was discovered by accident, CTK reported. Rezac said he was searching for the Eresus Sandaliatus species when he found a ladybird spider that differed from existing described species.