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article imageNew 'Bigfoot' spider discovered

By Tim Sandle     Aug 18, 2012 in Environment
A new, very long-legged species of spider, dubbed 'Bigfoot', has been found in southwest Oregon by a group of citizen explorers.
Whilst the legendary Bigfoot, who is said to wander through the various regions which stretch from California to British Columbia, is a yet-to-be-proved myth, a group of explorers have found a new species which is very real: a spider with very long legs. It is the first new family of spiders to be found in North America since the 1890s.
In keeping with the theme of the Digital Journal, the spider was, according to Wired Science, found by a team of 'citizen scientists' who were out exploring spiders living in caves in southwest Oregon.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the spider has been called Trogloraptor (Latin for “cave robber”), and is named after the cave location in which it was found by a group of explorers, as well as with reference to its elongate 'raptor-like' claws.
The Trogloraptor was found hanging beneath rudimentary webs on cave ceilings. Scientific American surmises that the spider is around four centimeters wide (or 2 inches across) with its legs outstretched. The yellow-brown colored spider also has six eyes.
According to a paper published in the journal Zookeys, the spider is unique because it is not only a new species, it represents a new genus and family (called the Trogloraptoridae). The spider may be related to the goblin spider (which was featured on the Digital Journal recently).
The claws are unusual for a spider and whether they are used for gripping or for attack remains unknown. Quoted by Sky News, the California Academy of Sciences said: "Their extraordinary, raptorial claws suggest that they are fierce, specialised predators, but their prey and attack behaviour remain unknown." Having been discovered, scientists aim to study its behavior more fully.
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