Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Spiders as big as your face discovered in Sri Lanka
Scared of spiders? Then read on if you dare… Metro takes no responsibility for any bad dreams you may have tonight.
A new species of venomous tarantula has been discovered – and it’s as big as your face.
It was tracked down in war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka after villagers took a spider to experts after they had killed it in 2009.
The scientists suspected the dead arachnid was a previously unknown type and confirmed the theory after setting off to find its living relatives.
‘Days of extensive searching in every tree hole and bark peel were rewarded with a female and, to our satisfaction, several juveniles too,’ said researcher Ranil Nanayakkara.
The tarantulas – part of the tiger spider genus – have distinctive markings including daffodil-yellow colouring on their legs and a pink band around their stomachs.
They were found living in the old doctor’s quarters of a hospital in Mankulam, by the researchers from Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity Education and Research organisation.
They have been named Poecilotheria rajaei in honour of police inspector Michael Rajakumar Purajah, who led the research team through countryside still recovering from Sri Lanka’s civil war.