If the sight of a daddy long leg spider has you screeching, you might not want to see or hear about the recent discovery by Dr. Peter Jäger.
On a trip to Laos, located in Southeast Asia, to film a television series, Dr. Jäger of the Senckenberg Research Institute discovered a giant daddy long legs spider. The leg span of this giant daddy long leg spider measures in at more than one-foot wide (about 33 cm).
“In between takes I collected spiders from the caves in the southern province of Khammouan,” Dr. Peter Jäger explains. “In one of the caves I discovered a harvestman that was absolutely huge.”
Experts are still trying to identify the arachnid, which is known as a harvestman, on a species type of level. “In attempting to categorize the creature properly, however, and give it a scientific name, I soon reached my limits,” says Jäger. He mainly deals with huntsman spiders; harvestmen are not his particular field of expertise. So, he contacted Ana Lucia Tourinho from the National Institute for Research of the Amazon (INPA) in Manaus, Brazil, and she could only conclude that it is probably the genus Gagrella in the Sclerosomatidae family.
“It’s a shame we can’t identify such an exceptional discovery correctly, i.e. its species,” says Dr. Jäger. “We haven’t dealt with these and related genera from China and neighboring South East Asia before. Specialists are also unavailable due to the fact that descriptive taxonomy is no longer the main focus of research funding.”
This giant daddy long legged spider nearly measures in close to the world’s largest species of harvestman spiders, which is from South America and has a 34 centimeter leg span.
“What mechanisms or factors are responsible for this frequency of gigantism is still unclear,” says Jäger. “One possible explanation is the potentially slower rate of growth in the caves. But the only thing that seems certain is that there is a limit to growth – either due to the lack of oxygen supply to the long appendages or because when fleeing or catching prey long legs can no longer be moved quickly enough.”
Giant Daddy Longlegs Discovered
A scientist filming a TV show in the Southeast Asian nation has discovered a giant harvestman-also known as a daddy longlegs with a limb-span of more than a foot.
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