New spider from Thar desert named after Malayali arachnologist 

Pseudomogrus sudhii inhabits dry grass blades of the desert

Updated - June 23, 2022 07:10 pm IST

Published - June 23, 2022 07:00 pm IST - Thrissur

Male of Pseudomogrus sudhii

Male of Pseudomogrus sudhii | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Female of Pseudomogrus sudhii

Female of Pseudomogrus sudhii | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A new species of spider discovered from the Thar desert of Rajasthan has been named after a Malayalee arachnologist.

The new species of jumping spider, Pseudomogrus sudhii, has been named after Sudhikumar A.V., Head, Department of Zoology, Christ College, Irinjalakuda, and founder of the Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology (CATE) in recognition of his contributions to the field of Indian arachnology.

The jumping spider was discovered during a joint exploration by Dmitri Logunov (curator, Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, UK), Rishikesh Balkrishna Tripathi and Ashish Kumar Jangid of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

This species inhabits dry grass blades of the desert. It is the first report of this genus from India. So far 35 species of spiders of this genus have been discovered worldwide.

Discovery of this new species from the Thar desert has been published in the latest volume of Arachnology, an international scientific journal of the British Arachnological Society.

Sudhikumar A.V., head, Department of Zoology, Christ College, Irinjalakuda.

Sudhikumar A.V., head, Department of Zoology, Christ College, Irinjalakuda. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The spider is only 4-mm long. Dark brown coloured head of male is covered with small white hairs and has black eye region. There is a dark mid-longitudinal band traversing the pale-yellow coloured abdomen. Head of the female is yellow with black eyes. There are white spots on its light-yellow abdomen, according to the description given in the scientific journal.

The spider is named after Dr. Sudhikumar for his contributions to the field of Indian arachnology. He has published more than 200 research articles on the Indian spider diversity in various international and national journals. He is the author of Keralathile Chilanthikal published by the Kerala Bhasha Institute.

Under his leadership, researchers from CATE have so far discovered 35 new species of spiders from different geographic locations in Kerala. He is the principal investigator of various research projects funded by both the Central and the State governments. There are 15 research students currently studying about the diversity of spiders, millipedes and ants of Kerala.

The Thar spider fauna remains practically unexplored, with only a few scattered checklists published to date, according to the researchers, indicating scope of more studies.

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