Berlin: A scientist
has discovered an eyeless huntsman spider, named the Sinopoda
scurion, the first of its kind.
With a leg span of only 6 cm and a body span of around 12 mm, the
spider is certainly not one of the largest representatives of its
kind, with more than 1,100 species.
"I found the spider in a cave in Laos, around 100 km away from the
famous Xe Bang Fai cave," reports Peter Jager, head of the
arachnology section at the Senckenberg Research Institute in
Frankfurt, the journal Zootaxa reports.
"We already knew of spiders of this genus from other caves, but
they always had eyes and complete pigmentation. Sinopoda scurion
is the first huntsman spider without eyes," adds Jager, according
to a Senckenberg statement.
The regression of the eyes is attributable to living permanently
without daylight. This adaptation was also observed in other
cave-dwelling spider species by the Frankfurt arachnologist.
"The Sinopoda species described demonstrate all kinds of
transitions to cave adaptation, from eight functioning eyes to
forms with six, four and two lenses, right up to blind spiders,"
The spiders are in good company: fish, scorpions and crabs that
have adapted to caves have already been found in Laos.
Frankfurt researchers have described nine new species of the genus
Sinopoda. The fact that all of the species have been found in
caves confirms the animals' preference for underground habitats.
The eyeless huntsman spider was named after the Swiss company "Scurion"
that makes headlamps for caves. "Sinopoda scurion is the first
species that I have named after a company in the context of the
Patrons for Biodiversity programme," explains Jager.