MIAMI, FLORIDA — Florida has finally found a venomous new animal that is new, but not new in the sense that it’s an invasive species that’s devastating the local ecosystem. Here are the details:
The Miami Herald reports that scientists have found a new species of venomous spider in Miami that looks like a small, shiny black tarantula.
It’s called the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider and it is indeed a relative of the tarantula.
The new spider was first found on the grounds of Zoo Miami. With legs extended, the female can measure up to seven centimeters wide.
This is a trapdoor spider — meaning it lives in a burrow with a hinged cover, like a trapdoor, to hide from predators and ambush unlucky prey.
Luckily, the spider’s bite is only as painful as a bee’s sting to humans.
The spiders themselves can be eaten by birds and they can be targeted by wasps, who inject wasp eggs into them, which would later hatch as larvas and then devour the spider from the inside.
However, the biggest danger to the arachnid is the loss of its habitat.
The first specimen was found in critically endangered pine rockland forest surrounding Zoo Miami.
It is likely that this species is limited to this small area of threatened habitat, which means it could be threatened itself.
Although many people would be glad that this scary and venomous cousin of the tarantula is probably heading for extinction, scientists are already making plans to try and save this rare species.
SOURCES: Miami Herald, South Florida Sun Sentinel