Spiders are often quite harmless, but that doesn’t stop us from being absolutely horrified by the sight off them. Yet they truly are fascinating creatures—especially the ones that are rarely seen and are more unusual in appearance.
This particular spider was recently found in China, even though it’s an ancient species, its documentation has been limited. That’s why it’s so impressive that it was captured on camera!
This rare spider with an unusually shaped abdomen was found by Chinese orange farmer Li Wenhua. Wenhua initially didn’t think it was a spider at all, but some kind of cultural relic. As soon as he realized what it was, he contacted his neighbors, who immediately came over to look at the rare creature.
After an internet search, Wenhua learned that the creature was a Chinese hourglass spider, or li shi pan fu zhu in Chinese. This was confirmed by Zhao Li, head of the Insect Museum of West China. It’s one of the earliest known spiders ever documented in China, rediscovered for the first time in the country’s Sichuan Province in 2000, and seen only six other times since then.
“The spider has very high value in scientific research. It is an extremely rare species in Sichuan.” Li said. “I had spend great effort trying to find it, but I didn’t see one.” It’s estimated that the Chinese hourglass spider, a kind of trapdoor spider, dates back to at least to 2 B.C.E. It was even mentioned in Er Ya, the oldest surviving Chinese dictionary, published sometime between 2 and 5 B.C.E.
Watch the Chinese hourglass spider in action here!
This spider is pretty creepy looking, but it’s absolutely fascinating that something so rare has been documented. What an incredible moment for science!
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