A rare spider species, believed to be extinct in the last 30 years, was found in road infrastructure work in Bexar County in San Antonio. The finding caused a major delay in the project, becoming a roadblock in the area's busiest intersection.
The discovery was made two weeks ago at the construction of Loop 1604 and Highway 151 by Zara Environmental biologist Jean Krejka. The Texas Department of Transportation consultant found the eyeless spider after the rain washed away a six feet deep hole in the middle of the highway.
The unexpected finding of the eight-legged creature, according to San Antonio radio station WOAI, caused a stoppage of "... a 15-million dollar underpass project at a very busy intersection". The construction plan is scheduled to be completed next summer.
The tiny spider discovery is an endangered species with the scientific name Cicurina venii. It is most commonly called Braken Bat Cave meshweaver, where it is discovered by George Veni in 1980 at the Northwestern Area of Bexar County. The spider has been placed in 2000, on the Federal Government's endangered species list. In a report for My San Antonio, the spider has the size of the dime, with no known dangers of emitting poison or fatal venom to humans.
The spider was placed in a bottle by the biology group of Zara Environment, where it has been dissected for identification purposes. It is legal for endangered species to be collected and dissected so that it can be identified, as long as the person or group has a federal permit.
The discovery of the Braken Bat Cave meshweaver has been compared by Zara Environmental president Jean Krejka to the “stumbling on a new Galapagos Island in terms of the biological significance of the region.”
Only one spider of the 'meshweaver' specie has been found in the area. However, biologist Stirling J. Robertson, TxDOT environmental affairs division team leader, still believed the location could be a spider habitat. My San Antonio reported that there have been 19 caves-like features in the underpass project, where five other types of spiders found and currently being examined for identification.
The air breathing anthropod discovery has already put on hold the completion of the Bexar County underpass. According to TxDOT, around 80,000 vehicles pass at the intersection in 2010. The project is said to extend Texas Highway 151 under Loop 1604, where it will connect to the Alamo Ranch Parkway.