A new species of crab spiders, Telangana crab spider (Thomisus telanganensis), has been named after the Telangana state in India. Two taxonomy and wildlife scientists from the Zoology Division at Osmania University stumbled upon female crab spiders during a scientific expedition at Nagnur, located in the district of Karimnagar.

In the newly published copy of an international journal on taxonomy and conservation known as the Journal of Threatened Taxa (JoTT),  junior researcher G.B. Pravalikha, together with Assistant Professor C. Srinivasulu, described how the Telangana crab spider is biologically different from other crab spiders by illustrating its female genital structure along with other distinguishing characters.

This type of spiders from the Thomisidae family, resemble crabs morphologically, and thus, they are commonly known as crab spiders. This Telangana species has an affinity to move sideways, similarly to crabs, but they had been also called flower crab spiders because these creatures hunt their prey on mostly flowering plants.

The species are closely related to Thomisus labefactus, crab spiders originating from Japan. Both scientists are dedicating this new line of species to honor all the students and people who had given up their own lives for Telangana's cause.

Unlike Telangana crab spiders, most traditional spiders weave webs to trap other insects. Although they fabricate silk for drop-lines and sundry reproductive purposes, Telangana crab spiders are more aggressive in attacking, using their powerful front legs to grab and hold onto their prey while paralyzing it with venomous bites, Dr. Srinivasulu noted.

"They are important to the ecosystem as they act as bio-controlling agents to keep the insect population under control. They are between 3 mm and 23 mm in size with their colour varying from bright and colourful to dull. They are usually found in plants, shrubs, grasses, flowering plants, leaf litter and sometimes under stones," Dr. Srinivasulu added.

The spiders of Thomisidae family are not known to be harmful to humans — at least the known ones. Both scientists prove that it is still a big, big world out there, and there are more species yet to be discovered, and hopefully, more governments and agencies will support their endeavor and research.

The researchers also noted that these crab spiders, as of the moment, had been found locally at Nagnur only.

The study was funded by grants from the Government of India, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), University Grants Commission, New Delhi and the Department of Science and Technology.

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