Four new species of tarantulas have been discovered in Colombia

In the uncharted Pacific region of Colombia, a team of researchers embarked on an unusual biological expedition. Their goal was to shed light on the mysterious world of spiders in the family Mygalomorphae, a diverse group that includes tarantulas, weaver spiders and other fascinating species. Their work led to the discovery of four new species of tarantulas, uncovering a treasure trove of biological wonders and expanding our understanding of this biodiversity hotspot.

Exploring Colombia’s Pacific region:

The Chocó biogeographic region, also known as the Colombian Pacific, is a place teeming with rich biodiversity. However, it still remains relatively understudied, especially with regard to spider species. A recent expedition to the Botanical Garden of the Pacific (JBP) in Bahia Solano aims to change this situation.

The amazing spiders of the family Mygalomorphae:

The spiders of the family Mygalomorphae are a fascinating group of arachnids. They include a variety of species including tarantulas, trapper spiders, funnel-web spiders, and more. These predatory spiders live primarily on land and often have a specific geographic distribution, making them endemics.

Discovery of new species of tarantulas:

The expedition yielded remarkable results: researchers discovered four previously unknown tarantula species. These included Ummidia solana, a unique carnivorous spider, and three tarantula species: Euthycaelus cunampia, Neischnocolus mecana and Melloina pacifica.

Taxonomic discoveries:

The discovery of these tarantula species marks a significant taxonomic breakthrough. This is the first time these genera have been recorded in the region, extending their known geographic distribution. Each species has been carefully illustrated, described and scientifically discussed, providing valuable insights into their morphological characteristics, taxonomy and biogeography. This study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the extraordinary species richness and endemism of the region.

A study of recently found tarantula species:

Let’s take a closer look at new tarantula species and their unique characteristics.

1. Ummidia solana:

Reflecting the beautiful landscapes and dense vegetation of the Pacific coast of Colombia, this newly discovered trumpet spider was named Ummidia solana after the municipality where it was found. This is the first registration of the genus Ummidia within the Chocó biogeographic region.

2. Melloina pacifica:

Named after the Pacific region of Colombia where it occurs, Melloina pacifica is the first described species of the genus Melloina in Colombia. Although members of this genus inhabit a variety of ecosystems, including caves, the presence of this species in this region extends its known distribution beyond Venezuela and Panama.

3. Euthycaelus cunampia:

This tarantula species owes its name to Don José and Don Antonio, members of the indigenous Embera community from Mecan, Chocó. Their transition from hunters to guides inspired tourists and JBP scientists, leading to the naming of this species. This is the first published record of the genus Euthycaelus and subfamily Schismatothelinae outside the Andean region and the Eastern Cordillera in Colombia.

4. Neischnocolus mecana:

Named after a locality in Bahia Solano, Neischnocolus mecana reflects the commitment of the Pacifico Botanical Garden community to preserving the region’s vibrant biodiversity. This species is the fourth described Neischnocolus in Colombia, extending the known geographic range of the genus.

A recent expedition in the Pacific region of Colombia discovered four new species of tarantulas, shedding light on the hidden treasures of biodiversity in this unexplored hotspot. The finds of Ummidia solana, Melloina pacifica, Euthycaelus cunampia and Neischnocolus mecana expand our knowledge of these fascinating arachnids and contribute to our understanding of the region’s unique biodiversity.

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