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Researchers At The Nat Discover Large Spider In Baja

A new species of spider, Califorctenus cacachilensis, discovered by researchers at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
San Diego Natural History Museum
A new species of spider, Califorctenus cacachilensis, discovered by researchers at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Researchers At The Nat Discover Large Spider In Baja
Researchers At The Nat Discover Large Spider In Baja GUEST: Jim Berrian, field entomologist, San Diego Natural History Museum

It is not common to go looking for spiders they usually find you.'s to researchers with researching in caves and abandoned buildings of Baja California following the trail of what turned out to be a brand-new species of spider and it is a big one. It is been there to the size of a tarantula but not as deadly. It is part of an effort to catalog the unique ecosystem of the hospital joining me his chin. Field entomologist one of the researchers who discovered and identified. What is the name of this new spider? [Indiscernible]. It is called the cave spider. We have a photo of the spider on our website but for our listeners can you describe this spider. They say it is a really pretty one. It is not right and got a like some of the jumping spiders can be. The care of this is the front half and then the legs are chocolate brown and in the abdomen is a pale yellow. I think it's a pretty set of colors and if you get the light just right there are some iridescent. And of course the eyes. Is it anonymous? All spiders except for two small family supported -- spiders have tournament -- have venom. The vast majority are harmless. This one did bite me. I worked with spiders for 20 years now and this is the first spider bite iPad. What was it like. It felt like being stuck by a cactus. The problem was for a few moments the folks that were with me there's a couple of our Mexican colleagues in the field with me that day if you start feeling weird or anything let us know. The reason of against is that the most dangerous spider in the world are in the same family. And we knew that. We knew nothing about this new spider. Network kind of thing does this cave spider it. Insects likely. A few of the caves that we found them in one of the continents are for the large roaches. How did you come across this spider in the first place. We have this expedition that we have been doing in this mountain range. There are a number of spots we were checking out one of those is [Indiscernible] and there was a stream and we were walking up the canyon and there is a part of the canyon wall that was eroded away to probably about 7 to 10 feet deep into the wall maybe six feet wide. So that is a good place to look for spiders. I looked around and right by my head there was some webbing and I had to shed the exoskeletons so we did not know what that was at first but it was bigger than anything else we had seen in terms of non-tarantula type spiders. Survey collected those and then later on we went to the spot in the mountains and there were many of these spiders crawling around the walls and so we collected those and began the story. It is estimated that science has only identified a fraction of the insects on earth yet this is a rather unusual find and is it because it is so big? Being that large and not having a name yet with be a bit unusual we were thinking it would be something that was imported. It is definitely a local and it is endemic to that area So this is part of a larger project to determine what makes it the ecosystem and determine it. In fact we were part of a large group of biologists that were called and to do a quick study and the Sierra Laguna which is a big mountain range and there is a gold Street my mother's plan for the area next to the reserves and so on and we were asked to see if we could go down and survey a species to see if there is anything endemic or rare and it has been postponed. When you do the major surveys and a half do you work with Mexican scientists? Is with you whenever we can. One of the roles we have to have permits to collect things and we can only have permits the Mexican scientists. So we have Doctor Maria Luisa Jimenez who set up a stand on the parents and she is just a great person. And sometimes she plays a scorpion but she has been a tremendous help in becoming a great friend. She is the one that confirmed that this was a brand-new species of lighter. There's one other member of the family that occurs and Baja that she help describe She sent this thing off to a couple of experts in Mexico City and also an expert in Brazil and they confirmed not only is it a new species but a new genus which is a bigger deal. A lot of people would probably be happy if you did not find any more They are there with a refined number not. There was an article recently that there was so many spiders that they could eat every human on earth and one year. What would you say to them about why the type of work you do is important. We do our small bit to figure out what is out there in the world on the natural history find out what species are where and so on and went to find them given the name. There are many things that insects and spiders do for us and swallows are very important in the environment there since -- estimated to be 4 million species. This one is a large spider defining caves and we are still finding out about the natural history of this thing. So these things are very important in Philip's ecosystems you cannot have a healthy forest without termite's all of these things big or small have a role to play in our job is to help with that. I've been speaking with field entomologist at the natural history Museum go Thank you for coming and taking with us.

Researchers at the San Diego Natural History Museum have discovered a new spider and it’s a big one.

It’s belongs to the same group of spiders as the highly venomous Brazilian wandering spider, but this one isn't as dangerous.

“I’ve worked with spiders for 20 years now, and this is the first spider bite I’ve had. It wasn’t bad, it felt like being stuck by a cactus spine,” said Jim Berrian, field entomologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

The spider, which researchers named Califorctenus cacachilensis, has a hairy, dark yellow torso and beady eyes. It's legs stretch four inches wide.

Researchers made the discovery in a remote mountain region near the town of La Paz in Baja California Sur in 2013. They wrote about the brand new species in the journal Zootaxa last month.

The discovery is part of an effort to catalogue and preserve the unique ecosystem of Baja California.

Berrian, who co-authored the Zootaxa paper, talked about their finding and what they’ve learned during their recent expeditions to Baja, Thursday on Midday Edition.