Madagascar’s Ancient ‘Pelican Spiders’ Are As Striking As They Are Strange

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Madagascar’s Ancient ‘Pelican Spiders’ Are As Striking As They Are Strange

Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:40 am

Traipsing through the thick brush of the Madagascan jungle in search of exotic spider species, all the while plucking bloodthirsty land leeches from your legs and eyeing the sky for signs of cyclones, might not be an activity high on your personal bucket list. For veteran arachnologist and Smithsonian researcher Hannah Wood, though, the natural wonderland of Madagascar has become a sort of home away from home.

In a recently published research paper in the academic journal ZooKeys, Wood and her co-author Nikolaj Scharff shed light on the taxonomy of a group of particularly distinctive-looking Madagascan spiders. Formally known as Archaeids, the creatures are perhaps best described by their common name: “pelican spiders.” Each spider in this group boasts an extended, arching carapace and two extra-long mouthparts (called chelicerae), creating the illusion of a “neck” and “beak.” The resemblance to pelicans is uncanny.

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Re: Madagascar’s Ancient ‘Pelican Spiders’ Are As Striking As They Are Strange

Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:41 am


(Hannah Wood)

Eriauchenius milajaneae is one of the 18 new species of pelican spiders from Madagascar described by the scientists. This species was named after Wood’s daughter, and is known only from one remote mountain in southeast Madagascar.

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Re: Madagascar’s Ancient ‘Pelican Spiders’ Are As Striking As They Are Strange

Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:51 am



This is the most dangerous spider in the world ...if you happen to be another spider. Why? Because this is the Assassin Spider, a spider who lives to kill its own kind.

There are a couple of physical characteristics that makes this spider stand out among others. One is its really long jaws. In fact, the assassin spiders jaws are 10x's longer than that of any other spider.

Another unique feature is its long slender neck that evolved over time to keep its jaws from dragging on the ground.

This long elegantly slender neck makes the spiders profile look like bird which earned it the more friendly nickname Pelican Spider.

 
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Re: Madagascar’s Ancient ‘Pelican Spiders’ Are As Striking As They Are Strange

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