New Spider Species Discovered in Miami

A brand new species of spider has been discovered in the Pine Rockland Forest near Zoo Miami, zoo officials said Wednesday.



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Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider (Ummidia richmond)


The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider (Ummidia richmond) was first found in 2012 by a zoo keeper reviewing reptile research traps. Two years later, Dr. Rebecca Godwin of Piedmont College – who was just studying this group of spiders related to tarantulas – that the spider was a previously undescribed species.

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“The fact that a new species like this has been found in an endangered forest in the middle of the city underscores the importance of conserving these ecosystems before we not only lose our knowledge but what remains to be discovered.” said Frank Ridgley, Conservation & Veterinary Services Manager, Zoo Miami. “Poisons of related types have been found to contain compounds with potential use as pain relievers and cancer treatments.”

This species of spider is likely already endangered, zoo officials said, with only about 1.5% of the pine rocks left outside Everglades National Park in Miami-Dade County.

These type of species are habitat specialists and can live in the same burrow for decades all their lives and are known to be some of the longest-lived spider species known.

Miami Zoo staff have only found a handful of males over the years and have not yet found a female of this species.

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