New armored spiders were discovered lurking about in caves, but spider-haters can rest easy – the armored arachnids are deep-dwellers within Chinese caverns. The armored spiders, part of the Tetrablemmidae family, are identifiable by the plate-like "armor" on their abdomens, Entomology Today reported.
According to a March 17 report from Science World, the five new, eyeless species that were found are “medium to small arachnid species that derive their name from the complex pattern of covering they have on their abdomen, which is very similar to body armor. These tropical and subtropical spiders are mainly found in soil and leaf litter but the new species were seen inhabiting caves.”
The armored spiders, which typically reside in the soil or dirt, are not distinguished by the common trait of most spiders; that is, they do not build spider webs, but rather have adapted to the blindess of caves.
A research team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered the new species, headed by zoology professor Shuqiang Li. The researchers have taken on a task that few would want – spelunking around 2,000 or so caves over the last decade.
For their efforts thus far, the group has cataloged thousands of spiders, upping the known species count in that area to over 4,300.
Over 40,000 different types of spiders have been discovered. Approximately three to six percent of the world’s population suffers from arachnophobia, a mild to morbid fear of spiders.