Newly discovered tarantula may be critically endangered

An enormous tree-dwelling tarantula recently discovered in northern Sri Lanka may be critically endangered due to deforestation, human removal, and pesticides & insecticides.

This notorious Raja’s tiger spider is described by media outlets to be “the size of your face”.

Ranil Nanayakkara, co-founder of Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity Education and Research, first saw this species in 2009 when a villager showed him a dead specimen that the local community had killed.

The adult tarantulas prefer old trees with natural tree hallows, so because of the problem of deforestation, many of the tarantulas had no choice but to move to the village of Mankulam, where they have been discovered hiding out in the local hospital.

Unfortunately, only around 1.5 percent of Sri Lanka’s primary forest remains.

New species of tarantula from Sri Lanka: Poecilotheria rajaei. Photo by: Ranil Nanayakkara.

The discovery team named the spider rajaei after local policeman, Michael Rajakumar Purajah, who tremendously helped the team with their field studies.

Raja’s tiger spider is venomous, but is not deadly to humans.

Scientists say that although spiders may be scary-looking, they are very misunderstood creatures and are essential to biodiversity by eating millions of insects that would otherwise have out -of-control populations.

“Last but not least they have every right to this earth just like us humans, and they are wonders of nature.”- Ranil Nanayakkara

Want to learn more? Read the full story here: New giant tarantula that’s taken media by storm likely Critically Endangered (photos)

Poecilotheria rajaei in close-up. Photo by: Ranil Nanayakkara.



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