2020 right?! It’s been a wild ride. Let’s not even mention the C-word. Then there was homeschooling. And the bushfires. #arewethereyet? Well, apparently not. There’s another crazy thing to add to the list for the year that can’t pass fast enough… Australia – you have a new spider!
And, to make it a true species of 2020 proportion it’s not just ye olde garden incy wincy – it’s an eight-eyed, blue-faced, hairy-legged, jumping spider that can survive being posted from Sydney to Melbourne. Sounds like a horror movie villain right?! But he’s actually not…
Spider fears aside the new little fella is actually pretty cute and so far he’s been noted to be harmless. He was found by Amanda De George just this month. When she came across a “pretty” little spider sitting on her recycling bin, she had no idea that it was a brand new species of Jotus brushed jumping spider.
The little creature was brown with a vibrant blue face, had eight beady eyes and a distinctive pattern on the back of its head. Unable to identify it, she quickly snapped a photo and uploaded it to Facebook page, Backyard Zoology.
“He’s so pretty,” De George said from her home in Thirroul, New South Wales. For those that aren’t spider fans pretty might not be the word you’re looking for but none-the-less he’s definitely unique!
Spider by mail
The social media post was quickly brought to the attention of spider expert Joseph Schubert, who asked Ms De George to catch it so that he could formally identify it. Mr Schubert is the entomology/arachnology registrations officer at Museums Victoria and specialises in the taxonomy of Australian jumping spiders.
At the request of Schubert the spider was placed carefully in a container and mailed interstate – and unbelievably he arrived not only in tact, but alive! And from here, well, a whole new spider was born…
Got a spider loving kid? Here’s the cool Jotus Spider facts for them:
- A new species of the Jotus jumping spider has been found in Thirroul, NSW
- There are 14 named species of Jotus, five of which were described in 2019
- The new spider was sent alive by mail to Museums Victoria expert Joseph Schubert
- The new spider is only four millimetres in length and has a black stripe bordered by white along its back, which is the identifying feature of Jotus spiders.
- The Jotus spider is known for their bushy front legs, which are used to perform a courtship dance to attract females.
- Jotus are harmless to humans, but are active hunters and inject venom into their prey.
Do you have a spider species to discover in your own backyard?
Well, it’s actually possible you could do! While De George’s backyard is currently the only known habitat of the new species at the moment, Mr Schubert said that the species is likely “quite widespread” in Australia.
He believes there are dozens of jumping spiders sitting in museum collections that are yet to be identified. So who’s to say there’s not one on your backyard as well? Happy hunting!
References: ABC / ABC Radio Sydney