The recent discovery of two killer spiders belonging to the species Zephyrarchaea austini , found living in a remnant of unburned habitat on Australia’s Kangaroo Island, has given new hope for the future of this ancient species , after fears that they might be would have extinguished. Your species has existed for more than 140 million years.
Despite the devastating wildfires that destroyed 48% of Kangaroo Island between 2019 and 2020, a team of Australian scientists has discovered two spiders, a female and a juvenile male, hiding under a small area of litter. Scientists have decided to keep its location a secret to protect the species. Before this, they were believed to be extinct because of the fires.
“Like other species of killer spiders, Zephyrarchaea austini has a very small range and restricted dispersal capabilities, making it particularly susceptible to significant threats such as prescribed and wild forest fires, wild boar, and increased fragmentation of native vegetation, “the authors write.
Why are they called killer spiders?
Because they feed on other spiders. They are also known as pelican spiders for their unusually elongated necks and jaws, which they use to impale their prey.
Their finding is surprising, since this species is vulnerable even in low-gravity fires. They are barely the size of a grain of rice . The species lives in litter suspended in low vegetation, which burns easily when forest fires occur, as it is an area considered highly flammable.
Referencia: South Australian Museum