Scientists uncover super-sized trapdoor spider in Australia

A new species of trapdoor spider discovered in Australia, the Euoplos dignitas, can grow up to twice the size of the typical trapdoor spider.

Australian researchers have announced the discovery of a new species of trapdoor spider found only in Queensland.

The species, Euoplos dignitas, is a golden trapdoor spider that can grow up to 5cm in length for females, which is large compared to the typical trapdoor spider that measures about 1.5cm to 3cm. The males grow up to 3cm. The females of this rare species can live for over 20 years in the wild. Unfortunately, much of its habitat has been lost due to land clearing, making it likely to be an endangered species.

According to scientists from the Queensland Museum, which discovered it, the spider’s name in Latin, Euoplos dignitas, means diversity or greatness, reflecting the “impressive size and nature” of the spider. Females of the species have a red-brown carapace, while males have a honey-red outer layer and grey-brown abdomens. They build their burrows in black soil in open woodland habitats, where they prey on insects. The females spend their lives underground, while males leave to find a mate in another burrow after five to seven years.

The scientists said that very few specimens of this species have been collected in recent decades, with only a single female submitted to the Queensland Museum since the 1960s. A three-day search in May 2021 revealed just one population along several hundred metres of a roadside verge, with most available habitat cleared for agriculture and stock. They said the continuing decline of such habitats may render the species “critically endangered” in the future.

The new discovery is not dangerous to humans. The biggest spider in the world is commonly known as the goliath birdeater, which is larger than the size of a dinner plate, with a body length of about 13cm and a leg span of 30cm.

The post Scientists uncover super-sized trapdoor spider in Australia appeared first on Getaway Magazine.

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