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World Spider Catalog Welcomes 50,000th Species

World Spider Catalog Welcomes 50,000th Species

Saturday, 9 April, 2022 - 06:15
Dewdrops gather on a spider as it rests on its web in the early morning in Lalitpur, Nepal October 11, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/File Photo

There are now 50,000 known different species of spider crawling the Earth, the World Spider Catalog (WSC) announced Wednesday -- and there might be another 50,000 out there.

The WSC, based at the Natural History Museum of Bern in the Swiss capital, said the 50,000th spider registered is the Guriurius minuano, which belongs to the Salticidae family of jumping spiders, the world’s fourth largest spider family.

It was described by the arachnologist Kimberly S. Marta and her colleagues from Brazil and is named after the now-extinct Minuane people who lived in the area.

Known for its superior vision, this spider has eight eyes, four in the front of its head, and two on each side. It hunts preys on shrubs and trees in southern Brazil, Uruguay, and around Buenos Aires.

The first scientific description of a spider was in 1757 and while it has taken 265 years to reach 50,000, the rate of discovery is steadily increasing, and it is thought it could take less than 100 years to discover the same number again.

"We estimate that there are still approximately 50,000 more spider species out there to discover," said the WSC's publishers.

The spider catalogue is freely available on the museum's website. It documents a major predator on this planet, whose ecological role should not be underestimated, according to the museum’s curators.

"Consuming some 400 to 800 million tons of insects every year, they are the most important regulators of insect populations. Accordingly, they are also of fundamental importance to humans," they added.

Arachnophobia is a specific phobia brought about by the irrational fear of spiders. The problem was highlighted in the movie ‘Arachnophobia’ in 1990, starred by actor, musician, and producer Jeff Daniels.

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