New Trapdoor Spider Species Discovered In Odisha

Balasore: New trapdoor spider species in Odisha has been discovered by researchers from IP University, the varsity said on Tuesday.

The new species has been named ‘Idiops Nilagiri’ after Nilagiri town in Balasore district where the spider’s presence was recorded.

This is a medium-size spider that measures about 8-13 mm in length.

With this discovery, members of the genus Idiops go up to 95 species worldwide, of which 12 are from India, the varsity said.

“This discovery takes global spider count to 48,277 and Indian spider count to 1,910 species of which 263 species are recorded from Odisha.

“Among Indian spiders, only 116 species belonging to 33 genera and 8 families are mygalomorph spiders,” the university said.

Mygalomorphs are relatively large and long-lived spiders (can live about 25 years) and represent primitive spiders that include tarantulas, funnel web and trapdoor spiders. Zoologists believe India’s diversity of these primitive spiders remains under represented.

According to IP University, the new species comes under family Idiopidae representing front-eyed trapdoors.

The new trapdoor species was collected on a road-side cut in a deciduous forest near Nilagiri town during field surveys in 2019 as part of efforts by Sanjay Keshari Das, Assistant Professor at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, to document spider diversity in adjacent Kuldhia Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha.

According to Das, the area is biogeographically important being part of Chhotanagpur Plateau.

The species was later examined in the lab with the assistance of M.Sc. Biodiversity students Diksha and Ruhi Asra Khan. The research team has just described their findings in the Journal of Asia Pacific Biodiversity.

Females of trapdoor spiders live in the tubular burrow with their walls lined by silk and have a cork-shape lid at the entrance that they use as a door.

Males are smaller in size, wandering and occasionally live in burrow particularly in the breeding season.

They are nocturnal and open their door to catch prey only during evening hours and hence, are difficult to locate them during day time. This is one of the main reasons that not much was explored about the natural history of trapdoors.