Nature Discovery – New Species!

Interesting information From Discovery News this week about the discovery of new species documented in Borneo, Africa and Madagascar! Read on.

** In Borneo — “Three new species of venomous, two-tongued primates have recently been identified. All represent different types of slow loris, a nocturnal animal with big eyes, a teddy bear face and a deadly bite.

“The primates, described in the American Journal of Primatology, had originally been grouped with another known slow loris, Nycticebus menegensis. This original, single species contained animals with significantly different features, lead author Rachel Munds, a University of Missouri doctoral student in anthropology, told Discovery News.

“‘The differences that are documented at present include particularly the darkness and extent of dark coloring around the eyes, the shape and darkness of a ‘cap’ on the head, the overall light or darkness of the hair, as well as body size and length,’ co-author Susan Ford, vice president of the Midwest Primate Interest Group, explained to Discovery News. Ford is also an associate dean and director of the Graduate School at Southern Illinois University.”

**In Africa and Madagascar — “A newly discovered spider has a 5-inch leg span and webs that are over 3 feet wide. It’s now the world’s largest orb weaving spider, according to this release from the Smithsonian:

Researchers from the United States and Slovenia have discovered a new, giant Nephila species (golden orb weaver spider) from Africa and Madagascar and have published their findings in the Oct. 21 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

“MatjaĆŸ Kuntner, chair of the Institute of Biology of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and a Smithsonian research associate, along with Jonathan Coddington, senior scientist and curator of arachnids and myriapods in the Department of Entomology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, also reconstructed size evolution in the family Nephilidae to show that this new species, on average, is the largest orb weaver known.

“Only the females are giants with a body length of 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) and a leg span of 4 – 5 inches (10 – 12 centimeters); the males are tiny by comparison.

“More than 41,000 spider species are known to science with about 400 – 500 new species added each year. But for some well-known groups, such as the giant golden orb weavers, the last valid described species dates back to the 19th century.

“Nephila spiders are renowned for being the largest web-spinning spiders. They make the largest orb webs, which often exceed 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter. They are also model organisms for the study of extreme sexual size dimorphism and sexual biology.”


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