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Money spider, ant-mimicking spider discovered at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Published
    26th May, 2022
Context

Money spiders, commonly found in European meadows, have been reported for the first time in the country from the Muthanga range of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

About

About Money Spider:

  • Researchers of Christ College, Irinjalakuda, Thrissur, have discovered the spider that belongs to the family of dwarf spiders (Linyphiidae) under the genus Prosoponoides.
  • It has been given the name Prosoponoides biflectogynus.
  • Only six species of spiders belonging to this genus have been identified from across the world so far.
  • It is the first report of this genus from India and hence no extensive studies have been conducted on this species of spiders in the country.

  • Physical features:
    • The male and the female money spiders are typically 3 mm and 4 mm long
    • Both sexes are dark brown and have irregular silver patches and black spots on elliptical abdomen.
    • There are numerous fine black spines on their olive green legs.
    • Eight dark eyes are arranged in two rows.
  • Females build triangular webs in between dry tree twigs and feed on small insects, while males prefer to hide beneath dry leaves.
    • Two or more male spiders can be found in the web of a single female.

About Ant-mimicking Spiders:

  • They have also discovered ant-mimicking spiders, belonging to the group of jumping spiders, from the Mananthavady range.
    • They belong to the family of Salticidae.
  • The ant-mimicking spider has been named Toxeus alboclavus.
  • They perfectly mimic ants by lifting their front pair of legs while walking as a mechanism to escape from potential predators.
  • Only three species of this genus have been reported from India, and this is the first species reported from the Western Ghats.



  • Physical Features:
    • The male and the female spiders of this species grow up to 4 mm and 6 mm long
    • A pair of white stripes on the dark brown abdomen of females makes them distinct from other spiders of this group.
    • The male of the species are characterised by a brown cephalic region and black thorax with white hairs.
    • The forward-projecting fangs have a characteristic shape of an antler.
    • Long spines are present on the base of each leg.

About Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

  • This wildlife sanctuary is located in Wayanad, Kerala.
  • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
    • Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was the first from India to be included in the UNESCO designated World Network of Biosphere Reserves (designated in 2012).
  • Established in: 1973
  • It is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala.
  • This wildlife sanctuary Spread over 344.44 sq km, is contiguous to the tiger reserves and is bounded by the protected area network of Nagarhole National Park and Bandipur National Park in Karnataka in the northeast, and on the southeast by Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu.
  • Kabini River (a tributary of the Cauvery River) flows through the sanctuary.
  • It is part of the Deccan Plateau and Western Ghats.
    • The forest types include South Indian Moist Deciduous forests, West coast semi-evergreen forests and plantations of teak, eucalyptus and Grewelia.
  • It comes under Protect Elephant.
    • Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Panther, Sambar, Spotted deer, Wild boar, Sloth bear, Nilgiri langur, Bonnet macaque, Common langur, Malabar giant squirrel etc are the major mammals.
  • This protection area is inhabited by Paniyas, Kurubas, Adiyans, Kurichiyas, Ooralis and Kattunaikkans scheduled tribes.


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