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Image of the Day: Spider Spotting

A type of jumping spider called Afraflacilla had never been documented in India—until now.

Oct 9, 2019
Emily Makowski
ABOVE: Adult male Afraflacilla
SUPRATIM LAHA (2019)

Researchers in India and England have made the first recorded observation of an Afraflacilla spider in India. Afraflacilla, a type of jumping spider, can be found in parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, but had never been spotted in India before. The research team reported its findings in Peckhamia September 4.

Supratim Laha, an ecology graduate student at the University of Kolkata, found the animal on a shrub in a garden at the university. In the paper, the authors describe the area as “one of the busiest, most populated and polluted regions of Kolkata,” and add that urban and suburban habitats are often overlooked during conservation efforts. 

Not much is known about this type of spider, according to a press release. Some Afraflacilla species are found in savannahs, deserts, or marshes, while others are found near human habitation. The researchers observed the arachnid eating a mosquito and say that it poses no threat to humans.   

“This is hugely important and exciting work. We are in an era when there are serious concerns about the biodiversity crisis across the planet, so discoveries such as this give us hope that we can address that,” says Richard Pearce, an arachnologist at Moreton Morrell College who is one of the paper’s authors, in the press release.

J. Ahmed et al., “First record of the genus Afraflacilla Berland & Millot, 1941 in India (Araneae: Salticidae: Chrysillini),” Peckhamia, 190.1:1–3, 2019.

Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at emakowski@the-scientist.com

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