From Assam, a new underground spider

The Gravelyia boro was added to India’s fauna from the same forest where a jumping spider resurfaced after 129 years

July 07, 2021 11:48 am | Updated 11:48 am IST - GUWAHATI

Gravelyia boro, the burrow spider, is new to science.

Gravelyia boro, the burrow spider, is new to science.

One burrows, the other jumps.

Two species of spiders sharing the same space – the Jharbari range of western Assam’s Chirang Reserve Forest – have spun a web of cheer for fauna in India.

Gravelyia boro , the burrow spider, is new to science. Dexippus kleini, the oriental jumping spider, has been recorded for the first time since its original description 129 years ago by Swedish arachnologist Tord Tamerlan Teodor Thorell about 2,600 km away in Sumatra.

The two spiders from Bodoland Territorial Region have been described in the latest issue of ActaArachnologica published by the Arachnological Society of Japan.

Assistant Professor Dulur Brahma and research scholar Paris Basumatary, both from Bodoland University’s Department of Zoology, have authored the studies. John T.D. Caleb of Zoological Survey of India corresponded for the paper on the jumping spider found inside a long and cylindrical cocoon-shaped silken retreat on cogon grass flower.

The Gravelyia boro belongs to the Nemesiidae family comprising 184 species worldwide while the Dexippus kleini is a member of Salticidae , the largest family of all spiders on earth.

“The name of the burrow spider has been derived from the Bodo community, one of the largest ethnolinguistic groups in Assam and predominantly inhabiting the area where the new species of spider was recorded,” Dr. Brahma told The Hindu .

The burrow spider lives underground, about 10-15 cm below the sandy-loamy surface. The burrows with an opening up to 1 cm wide were under the cover of some herbs and shrubs.

The jumping spider, typical of its kind, is a slow mover but capable of jumping up to 25 mm in length to hunt its prey.

The Jharbari jumper is one of a few salticids recently “rediscovered” in India after more than a century since their first description. These include the Proszynskia diatreta after 112 years and Piranthus decorus after 122 years.

“All these findings reflect the underlying inadequately studied diversity of the Indian salticid fauna,” Dr. Brahma said.

A non-venomous snake has also been added to India’s herpetofauna by a team of researchers from Mizoram University. About 50 cm long, this dark brown and yellow found in a dried-up area of the Tuinghaleng riverbed near Mizoram capital Aizawl is the third species of the Stoliczkia genus from India.

The team named the snake Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai , in honour of Vanhnuailiana, a Mizo warrior. Its common name is Lushai Hills dragon snake.

The study on this snake has been published in Zootaxa , a New Zealand-based journal.

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