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New species of venomous spider found at zoo in Florida

Posted at 10:59 AM, Apr 27, 2021

A new species of a venomous spider has been recognized in Florida.

According to the Zoo Miami Conservation and Research Facebook page, the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider was first spotted in 2012 when zoo staff found it "in the critically endangered pine Rocklands" surrounding Miami's zoo.

But it wasn't until recently that it was identified as a new species.

"Trapdoor Spiders are some of the longest-lived spiders and are documented to be able to live for decades," the zoo said. "Given the rarity of the habitat that this species was found in and that it has not been known to science until now, it is assumed that it is likely already imperiled."

Dr. Rebecca Godwin of Piedmont College confirmed that it was a new species to science and recently published her work.

Dr. Godwin said the spider builds silk-lined burrows that are "highly cryptic," making it difficult to find, and only males have been encountered.

According to Zoo Conservation Chief Frank Ridgley, the spiders are named after how they build a so-called "trap door" over the top of vegetation and soil to ambush their prey.