Poecilotheria rajaei, a type of giant spider/screenshot

Researchers believe Massive Spider is a new Species

Poecilotheria rajaei, a type of giant spider/screenshot
Leigh Goessl's image for:
"Researchers believe Massive Spider is a new Species"
Caption: Poecilotheria rajaei, a type of giant spider/screenshot
Image by: Ranil Nanayakkara
© All Rights Reserved 

A previously undiscovered type of spider was recently found in a remote location of the globe. Not your ordinary run-of-the-mill house or outdoors spider either. Scientists have said they believe they have identified a new giant tarantula species.

According to Yahoo! News, the giant spider was found in northern Sri Lanka in 2009. It was first found by local villagers when they encountered one, which they subsequently killed and then handed over to experts, reported Smithsonian Magazine.

Found by Ranil Nanayakkara, a local researcher, the spider has been named the Poecilotheria rajaei, named after a policeman who helped the team of researchers navigate the secluded area where the spider was located. Eventually the team found some live ones, which have been described as a type of tiger spider.

In terms of size, media reports note the spider's leg span is 8 inches across, "about the length of your face," said the Yahoo! Report. It is described as having beautiful and ornate markings.

But don't let the pretty clothing fool you.

Not only is the spider enormous, it has other characteristics that would make it the type of spider you would not want to find in your bathtub, or even your backyard. Experts describe the spider as poisonous and "super fast", reported Smithsonian. It also lives a life of camouflage and likes to hide in dark places to shield itself from being seen.

“They are quite rare,” Nanayakkara said. “They prefer well-established old trees, but due to deforestation the number have dwindled and due to lack of suitable habitat they enter old buildings.”

Seemingly, this find has created some discussion in the science community. Not everyone is sure the giant spider is a new species.

“This species has enough significant differences to separate it from the other species,” said Peter Kirk, editor of the British Tarantula Society‘s journal, which published a study describing the spider in December, according to Wired. He told Wired the taxonomic determinations based on the spider's physical makeup can create some differences of opinion.

"I absolutely would love to see DNA sampling done — on all the species of Poecilotheria," Kirk said.

Other scientists, such as arachnologist Robert Raven, curator at the Queensland Museum in Australia, also shares his thoughts.

“The description and figures are excellent and will provide a good basis for establishing whether it is a good species,” Raven said, reported Wired.

More about this author: Leigh Goessl

From Around the Web

  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/newly-discovered-giant-spider-nightmare-inducing-variety-174207130.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2013/04/this-giant-new-tarantula-has-an-eight-inch-leg-span/
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.thebts.co.uk/index.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/04/new-giant-tarantula/