Sunday Night Movie: David Attenborough Toys with a Trapdoor Spider

From the BBC’s Life in the Undergrowth:

If you like trapdoor spiders, this past year may have been the best ever: arachnologist Jason Bond recently quintupled the number of known species in North America.

Of course, with the discovery of many new species comes the related depressing discovery that many of them are in imminent danger of extirpation. Sigh.

(source: )

3 thoughts on “Sunday Night Movie: David Attenborough Toys with a Trapdoor Spider”

  1. Alex–The really cool thing about this spider is that it belongs to a branch of the spider evolutionary tree that is even older than the one containing the trapdoor spiders Jason identified. This spider is a mesothele, and there are only about 90 known species, found only in Asia. The oldest mesothele fossil is about 290 million years old. Jason’s trapdoor spiders are mygalomorphs. I love this clip of Attenborough!

    1. Really? Thanks Leslie. Shows how little I know of spiders. I thought this one was a mygalomorph. Is trapdoor predation likely ancestral, then, for spiders?

      1. I would think burrowing would extremely likely be ancestral, given the environment spiders and their immediate ancestors lived in. How soon the trapdoor evolved, no one knows. But all mesotheles make them. (Not all species lay out triplines, however.) If you go here and scroll down to Chapter 2, there’s more info:–spider.pdf One update: mesotheles are venomous. Finding the pores in the fangs is difficult, but they’re there.

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