Sunday, August 19, 2012

New family in Oregon (spiders, that is)

In a cave in southern Oregon, the first new family of spiders found in North America since 1890 has seen the light of science  A population so distinct it requires not just a species name and not just a genus name but a family name is rare anywhere: this is the first family of spiders anywhere in the world in 22 years.  Charles Griswold of the California Academy of Sciences  described the spider, 7.5 cm across, as "biggish," but adds, "When you're in a cave and it's dark and there's only the beam of your head lamp, they look much bigger. It's quite astonishing to see them hanging from a few threads."  The distinctive hook-legged creature (Robert Kiehn, on a Facebook board, compared it to the Face-hugger in the Alien movies), is tagged Trogloraptor marchingtoni.

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