Newly Discovered: Spider with Gruesome Claws

Arachnophobics,
skip this post. For the rest of you, may I introduce you to a new and
rare species of spider (so rare that it has its own taxonomic genus and
even family to itself) found in the caves of southern Oregon.

Meet the Trogloraptor marchingtoni:


Image: Griswold CE, Audisio T, Ledford JM

The species is named after Neil Marchington, a member of the Western
Cave Conservancy, who first discovered the spider. The genus name, Trogloraptor,
means "cave robber."


Raptor-like claws of the Trogloraptor. Image: Griswold CE, Audisio T,
Ledford JM

It’s an apt name for a spider with unique hooks, or claws, on its legs,
which the researchers believe are used to snatch flying insects, like
midges, out of the air. With its legs outstretched, the spider measures
up to 3 inches (8 centimeters) long.

"They're biggish," Griswold said. "But when you're in
a cave and it's dark and there's only the beam of your head lamp, they
look much bigger. It's quite astonishing to see them hanging from a
few threads." […]

Griswold said this discovery could help explain why there are legends
about giant spiders living in caves in this region. And perhaps there
are other similar species yet to be found; many caves, especially in
the western United States, remain little studied.

Read more over at Our Amazing Planet: Link