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New spider takes Telangana’s name

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The spiders, named Thomisus telanganensis, also resemble crabs and are called "crab spiders".

Telangana now has a spider named after it — Telangana crab spider ( Thomisus telanganensis).

Two wildlife and taxonomy researchers from the Zoology Department of Osmania University chanced upon a female of the species while they were on an expedition at Nagnur in Karimnagar district.

The results of the discovery by research scholar G.B. Pravalikha and Assistant Professor Chelmala Srinivasulu have been published in the recent issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa, an International Journal of Conservation and Taxonomy.

The spiders of the Thomisidae family structurally resemble crabs and are hence called “crab spiders”. The Telangana variety has a tendency to walk sideways like crabs. They are also known as “flower spiders” as they lie in wait for prey on flowering plants, the researchers said.

The expedition was routine until they stumbled upon the spider. The species closely resembles Thomisus labefactus, well known in Japan. They want to dedicate this species to the scores of students and the public who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of Telangana.

Unlike traditional spiders, Telangana crab spiders do not weave webs. They attack prey all of a sudden and immobilise them with venom, Dr. Srinivasulu said.

Eats insects

“They are important to the ecosystem as they act as bio-controlling agents to keep the insect population under control. They are between 3 mm and 23 mm in size with their colour varying from bright and colourful to dull. They are usually found in plants, shrubs, grasses, flowering plants, leaf litter and sometimes under stones,” he said.

The researchers said the spider had been found only at Nagnur so far.

The study was supported by grants from the Science and Engineering Research Board, Union Department of Science and Technology, and the University Grants Commission.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 6:29:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/new-spider-takes-new-states-name-telangana-crab-spider/article7081961.ece

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