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Is it Halloween Yet? New 'Softball-Sized' Spider With Sharp Fangs Found in Mexico Cave

Apr 13, 2017 09:29 AM EDT
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A hairy eight-eyed arachnid was discovered inside a cave in Baja California, Mexico.

The spider, which is the size of a soft ball, was named Califorctenus cacachilensis, which is a new species.

Fox News reported that the Califorctenus spider is nearly four inches long. Its head and legs are of an intense brown color, while its abdomen is yellow. To top it all, it was two visible fangs.

According to the San Diego National Museum, the species was found in 2013 when a team of researchers went to the isolated regions of Baja to catalog its existing flora and fauna. However, the findings were only documented and published this year in the journal Zootaxa as the specimen needed to be examined comprehensively.

"I knew the spider was unusual, but [we] needed to get Dr. Maria Luisa Jimenez to look at it to make sure," said Jim Berrian, field entomologist and one of the authors, in a statement.

Jimenez, who is an expert on the spiders of Baja California Sur, was also part of the 2013 expedition. 

"When I saw these spiders for the first time, I was very impressed by their size," he shared. "In all my experience over the years collecting spiders on the peninsula, I had never seen a spider this large. I suspected that something new was waiting to be described."

Jimenez concluded that the Califorctenus spider belongs to the same family as the Brazilian wandering spider, which is a notoriously deadly spider. The study, however, clarified that its venom could not kill humans, noting that Berrian was bit once and survived.

Smithsonian noted that while the newly discovered spider species is notably sizeable, it is still small compared to the biggest spider ever found, the Heteropoda maxima, a giant huntsman spider which lives in Laos. Its legs can grow as large as one foot.

Most researchers estimate that there are two to five million insect and spider species in the planet, only about 1.1 million species have been named.

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