Australian researchers discover what they believe is the oldest trapdoor spider in the world. Unfortunately, the 43-year-old spider dies recently during a long-term population study.
To the researchers' knowledge, it is the oldest spider ever recorded, according to Leanda Mason, lead author and Ph.D. student from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University. Thanks to this particular spider, a Giaus Villosus trapdoor matriarch, Mason's team was able to gain insights on how trapdoor spiders behaved and how the species interact with each other.
Breaking World Record
Mason and her team believe that the death of the 43-year-old trapdoor spider has broken the record for the world's oldest spider, which was previously held by a 28-year-old tarantula. The latter was discovered in Mexico.
Mason explains that the research, which leads to the discovery of the 43-year-old trapdoor spider, has also paved the way for compelling insights about the longevity of the species.
The team found that the long lifespan of the species is brought by their life-history traits. The species reside in uncleared and native bushland. They also have the sedentary lifestyle and low metabolism.
Furthermore, the study also demonstrated how long-term research is important in understanding how species thrive in the Australian environment.
The team builds on a research project started by fellow researcher Barbara York in 1974. York monitored the long-term spider population for more than 42 years in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
Consequently, Mason and her team are continuing their research on the life and habitat of the trapdoor spiders.Grant Wardell-Johnson, co-author of the study and associate professor at the university says that through an ongoing research, they hope to identify how climate change and deforestation could impact the species.
The research was published in the Pacific Conservation Biology Journal.
Trapdoor Spiders Facts
The species belong to the family of Ctenizidae of the order Araneae. They can be found in Japan, Africa, South America, North America, and in other warm regions. Trapdoor spiders are usually black or brown in color. In the United States, they are commonly found in the southwestern region.
The species measure on the average of about 1.5 centimeters to about 3 centimeters. In comparison, they can grow the same length across as a U.S. half-dollar coin.
While some people choose trapdoor spiders as their pets, experts advise that the species are extremely aggressive. Only people who are experienced tending them are recommended to keep them.
The species are also known to be carnivorous and feed on insects. They hunt for their prey by trapping them in their sticky silk outside their burrow on the ground.