Saturday, August 18, 2012

Trogloraptor: Once Again an Invert Steals a Cool Name

I honestly was planning a post on spiders but then this popped up which is some pretty amazing-cool news anyways...

Trogloraptor ( cave robber) is a new genus and species of a new family Trogloraporidae discovered by citizen scientists in some privately owned caves in southern Oregon (Grant's Pass area) and also in thick undergrowth in old growth redwood forests of northern California. This is only the third new spider family discovered in the world since 1990 and the first in North America since 1870! These kinds of discoveries don't just happen every day folks!!!

C. California Academy of Sciences
For a temperate spider it is actually quite large- about 1.5 inches long or easily able to cover a silver dollar. It has several features suggestive of ancient heritage and is distinguished by some rather gruesome looking claw/fang type grapplers, check out pic:

California Academy of Sciences
So in 2012 whole new families of spiders are being discovered in the most populous state in the US by citizen scientists who then collaborate with a major institution to bring to light this find. Unexpected and cool.

But what is not surprising is that this find would be from the unique coastal forest belt from northern California through British Columbia. Now there is some very unique habitats, full of all kinds of nooks and crannies- chopped up by big rivers, mountains and forests- just ripe for unique cryptids, relicts, and speciations. What other discoveries await us from this region?

Deep, old growth redwood forest do have a certain 'cavelike' quality to them- pretty dark, cool, dank and wet. I can see how these spiders might feel comfortable in both caves and redwood undergrowth. One also wonders if they habit the hollowed out insides of fire burnt redwoods- seems like a good, cavelike little microhabitat for the Trogloraptor.

Peace out.

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