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article imageResearchers discover 30 new spider species

By Michael Thomas     Dec 5, 2014 in Environment
A foray into a rainforest teeming with flora and fauna has already yielded big results — 30 new species of spiders — and that may be just the start.
Nature World News reports that a team of scientists have discovered 30 news species of spider and that there are probably hundreds more waiting to be identified. The team comes from the Institute of Zoology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The study, published in the journal ZooKeys, covers only the spiders of the Xishuangbanna tropical rainforest in southern Yunnan, China.
There are at least 700 species of spider living in the Xishuangbanna rainforest, but they're only a small fraction of the area's biodiversity. There are more than 10,000 plant species alone, more than earning it the nickname "Kingdom of Tropical Flora and Fauna."
"The amazing biological diversity we have witnessed during our work on spiders in Huladao is perhaps only a part of what Xishuangbanna tropical rain forests hold," said Professor Shuqiang Li, the study's lead author, in a statement. In addition to the 30 newly-named species the team found, there are 100 more specimens that remain to be looked at.
The study was an attempt to reveal more information about the 200-hectare (500-acre) area of the Xishuangbanna that has so far led to 700 species collected since 2006. The team also hopes a report like this will help highlight why areas like this need to be protected from deforestation.
Li added in his statement that studies of local wildlife can make an argument on why tropical areas like the rainforest should be protected — and also highlights what's lost when deforestation happens. Last month, a new report said Brazil's government is pushing the Amazon onto the "brink of the abyss" — a rainforest which is the most diverse into the world and home to nearly 400 billion trees.
More about Xishuangbanna, Spiders, China
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