New trapdoor spider species discovered in Odisha’s Nilagiri
New Delhi: Researchers of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University have discovered a new trapdoor spider species in Odisha, announced authorities of the varsity on Tuesday.
The new species has been named ”Idiops nilagiri” after Nilagiri town in Balasore district where the spider’s presence was recorded. This is a medium-size spider that measures about 8-13 mm in length. The new species comes under family Idiopidae representing front-eyed trapdoors.
The new trapdoor species was collected on a road-side cut in a deciduous forest near Nilagiri town during field surveys in 2019 as part of efforts by Sanjay Keshari Das, Assistant Professor at the varsity, to document spider diversity in adjacent Kuldhia Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha.
According to Das, the area is biogeographically important being part of Chhotanagpur Plateau.
The species was later examined in the lab with assistance of M.Sc. Biodiversity students Diksha and Ruhi Asra Khan. The research team has just described their findings in Journal of Asia Pacific Biodiversity.
Females of trapdoor spiders live in tubular burrow with their walls lined by silk and have a cork-shape lid at the entrance that they use as a door. Males are smaller in size, wandering and occasionally live in burrow particularly in breeding season.
They are nocturnal and open their door to catch prey only during evening hours and hence, are difficult to locate them during day time. This is one of the main reasons that not much was explored about natural history of trapdoors
With this discovery, members of the genus Idiops go up to 95 species worldwide, of which 12 are from India, the varsity said.
“This discovery takes global spider count to 48,277 and Indian spider count to 1,910 species of which 263 species are recorded from Odisha,” the varsity said.
“Among Indian spiders, only 116 species belonging to 33 genera and 8 families are mygalomorph spiders,” it said.
Mygalomorphs are relatively large and long-lived spiders (can live about 25 years) and represent primitive spiders that include tarantulas, funnel web and trapdoor spiders. Zoologists believe India’s diversity of these primitive spiders remains under represented.