A professor at the Auburn University Museum of Natural History has identified, not one, but 33 new species of trapdoor spiders, so many that he is getting creative with naming them. The new spiders have been named for such celebrities as actress Angelina Jolie, President Barack Obama, and labor activist Cesar Chavez, except for a favorite species that was named for the discoverer’s daughter, Elisabeth.
Professor Jason Bond, a trapdoor spider expert, discovered all the new species in the American Southwest, particularly in California. All the spiders belong to genus Aptostichus, which only included seven species prior to Bond’s report. Its ranks will now increase five-fold.
Trapdoor spiders are rarely seen due to their burrowing natures. They cover the entrances to their burrows with a mixture of soil, sand, plant material and silk behind which they hide from their prey.
Trapdoor spiders are not poisonous, although their bite may be painful. They are usually nocturnal. While they are found in New Mexico, they do not generally pose a risk to homeowners. Other spiders, however, do pose a risk to humans and are found in and around homes, including black widows, brown recluse spiders, and wolf spiders.
Tags: Aptostichus, Discoveries, New Species, Pest Control, Southwest, Spiders, Trapdoor Spiders