(The Herald Post) – A team of scientists from institutions in China and Singapore have made a groundbreaking discovery in the Hunan province of China, identifying three new species of mesothelian spiders belonging to the genus ‘Songthela’. This remarkable find offers valuable insights into spider evolution and highlights the importance of conservation efforts to protect these vulnerable species.
Researchers published their findings in the journal ZooKeys, describing the new mesothelian species named ‘Songthela zhongpo’, ‘Songthela longhui’, and ‘Songthela anhua’. These spiders were named after the genus and the regions of Hunan province where they were discovered. Mesothelian spiders are considered the most primitive of living spiders, with segmented abdomens and small sizes, typically between 1 to 2 centimeters long.
To identify these new species, scientists collected live subadult specimens from various sites such as parks, fields, and other areas. These specimens were then reared to maturity in the laboratory, allowing for accurate identification by comparing their sexual organs (male palp and female genitalia). This method is considered one of the most reliable ways to identify mesothelion spiders.
According to the researchers, most mesothelion species are at risk due to their limited geographical distribution. The discovery of these new species underscores the importance of identifying and protecting them from human activities that could lead to their extinction. The team’s findings not only contribute to our understanding of spider evolution but also stress the urgency of conservation efforts for these unique creatures.