What makes them unique is that, unlike other arachnids, pelican spider don't make webs. The latest study was led by veteran aranchologist Hannah Wood of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Wood analyzed and scrutinized more than hundreds of pelican spiders both from field research in Madagascar and from the pelican spiders kept preserved in museum. As a result, the pelican spider looks more like a bird than a spider in profile.
Wood says there are nearly certainly more spiders to be discovered. "These spiders attest to the unique biology that diversified in Madagascar", Wood said in a press release. A scientist has been studying hundreds of specimen coming from Madagascar and in that process, has found 18 new species belonging to an assassin, spider-eating pelican spider, which is equipped with tong-like jaws which help it effortlessly grab prey. If you're a spider, you know exactly what I'm describing - a beast, which, at least to smaller spiders, is an otherworldly, eldritch terror: the pelican spider. Wood informed that pelican spiders have a long history and their ancestors lived as long as 165 million years ago as per the fossil records. Wood was accompanied by colleague Nikolaj Scharff of the University of Copenhagen to carry out a detailed research of those 18 new species of spiders.
After studying hundreds of specimens from Madagascar, a scientist has discovered 18 new species of one of the most freaky spiders on the planet: the spider-eating "pelican spider" that uses salad tong-like jaws to snatch prey. That's because Madagascar is considered a biodiversity hotspot, meaning that over 90 percent of the wildlife exist only in that region. Also known as "assassin spiders", pelican spiders mostly follow their prey at night and perform the attack with the part of the mouth with fangs.
Out of the 26 spiders that she sorted out, 18 species were found to be completely new ones which have never been seen before. But when intrepid scientists discovered live members of this group of spiders, they were deemed "living fossils".
The California Academy of Sciences started an arthropod inventory in 2000, as the wildlife in Madagascar is not sufficiently studied. In order to make her discovery, Wood studied the pelican spider which was in that collection, as well as some she collected.
Like the coelacanth, assumed extinct for millions of years, pelican spiders have survived millennia while barely changing at all. The new species add to scientists' understanding of that diversity, and will help them investigate how pelican spiders' unusual traits have evolved. It is also important to cover Madagascar as a spot which has a high potential for new species to be discovered, the press release reported.