New armored spiders species were recently found lurking in the darkness of the caves in southeastern China, and scientists have described the discovery of the five new spider species as quite an intriguing find. The study has been published in the journal ZooKeys, IBT reported on March 17.
Armored spiders are small to medium arachnid species and they received their name due to the complex structure of patterns that cover their abdomen because it strongly resembles body armor.
The armored spiders common name is given to the family of Tetrablemmidae. Characterized by its peculiar armor abdomen, these tropical and subtropical spiders are housed mainly in leaf litter and soil, but like some newly described species, some often dwell in caves.
There are varieties that show typical adaptations of cave spiders, such as the loss of an eye. The genus Tetrablemma, for example, to which two of the new species belong, is distinguished by having only four eyes, not the usual eight.
All these new armored spiders were found in the South China Karst, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This area spans the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan. It is noted for its karst features and landscapes as well as its rich biodiversity.
Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Professor LI Shuqiang have investigated more than 2,000 caves in the area. Several hundred new species of cave spiders have been reported by Li and his colleagues.