(WTRF)- A new venomous tarantula-like spider has been discovered at Zoo Miami.
The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider (Ummidia richmond) was first found by a zookeeper who was checking reptile research traps in 2012.
The zookeeper shared the photo of the spider with the Zoo’s Conservation and Research Department for identification but it didn’t match any existing records for known species in the region.
More than two years later, another spider was found and it was confirmed as a previously undescribed species in a study by Dr. Rebecca Godwin, of Piedmont College in Georgia.
“The fact that a new species like this could be found in a fragment of endangered forest in the middle of the city underscores the importance of preserving these ecosystems before we lose not only what we know, but also what is still to be discovered. Venoms of related species have been found to contain compounds with potential use as pain medications and cancer treatments,” said Frank Ridgley, DVM, Zoo Miami Conservation & Veterinary Services Manager.
The study was concluded by Dr. Goodwin in April of 2021
Experts say these spiders are usually habitat specialists and can live for decades in the same burrow for their entire life.
Zoo Miami says you can understand trapdoor spiders better by reading this article “The extraordinary life and death of the world’s oldest known spider”
The full description of the spider has been published in the journal ZooKeys as “Taxonomic revision of the New World members of the trapdoor spider genus Ummidia Thorell (Araneae, Mygalomorphae, Halonoproctidae)”