2 miniature spider species discovered in Giant Panda Sanctuaries of China

May 22, 2013
This image shows one of the newly discovered species -- Mysmena wawuensis. Credit: Shuqiang Li

Two new minute spider species have been discovered from the Sichuan and Chongqing, China. The tiny new spiders are both less than 2 mm in length, with Trogloneta yuensis being as little as 1.01 mm and Mysmena wawuensis measured to be the even tinier 0.75 mm, which classes it among the smallest spiders known. The two species described in the open access journal Zookeys both have a bizarre body shape with disproportionately big spherical posterior body.

The family Mysmenidae to which the new species belong is composed of minute eight-eyed spiders. There are a relatively small number of these spiders recognized worldwide despite scientists expect that many new species are still awaiting discovery. Mysmenidae are one of the least studied groups among orb-weaving spiders which is believed to be due to their small size.

Being extremely minute, up to 2 mm in total and having cryptic lifestyle these creatures become rather hard to find. The spiders live in moist leaf litter, and their obscure places such as moss and even caves and they prefer very humid habitats. Spiders from this family are believed to widely throughout the tropical and .

This image shows a view from the Wawu Mt. National Forest Park, the natural habitat of the newly discovered species. Credit: Shuqiang Li

The Wawu Mt. National Forest Park is the home of the two miniature spider species. Credit: Shuqiang Li

The two new species found in China are considered endemic to their type localities in the Sichuan and Chongqing. The region of Wawu Mt. National Forest Park, where Mysmena wawuensis was discovered is also remarkable for holding a small population of wild of about 10 individuals. A recent survey shows that 1206 individuals of giant panda are currently living in Sichuan, which makes the region remarkable with about 76% of the whole wild panda population in China being concentrated there attesting for the great biodiversity of the province.

Explore further: For social spiders, preying together aids younger siblings

More information: Lin Y, Li S (2013) Two new species of the genera Mysmena and Trogloneta (Mysmenidae, Araneae) from Southwestern China. ZooKeys 303: 33–51. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.303.4808

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A new cryptic spider species from Africa

Mar 07, 2013

The species from the genus Copa are very common spiders found in the leaf litter of various habitats. Being predominantly ground-living, they occur widely in savanna woodlands but also occasionally in forests, ...

A whole new meaning for thinking on your feet

Dec 12, 2011

Smithsonian researchers report that the brains of tiny spiders are so large that they fill their body cavities and overflow into their legs. As part of ongoing research to understand how miniaturization affects ...

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.