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Scientists have found a new species of tarantula as large as the average human face.
Ranil Nanayakkara and his colleagues discovered Poecilotheria rajaei, a new species of tiger spider, in northern Sri Lanka. It was first noticed in 2009, when villagers brought a spider they had killed to researchers.
"Days of extensive searching in every tree hole and bark peel were rewarded with a female and to our satisfaction several juveniles too," Nanayakkara and his colleagues said in a study about the spiders published in the British Tarantula Society Journal.
P. rajaei was named after a police inspector, Puraja, who helped the researchers locate the spider.
British Tarantula Society Journal study. New tiger spider found: P. rajaei is about the size of a human face. IMAGEWhile examining the spider, the researchers noticed it didn't look quite like any of the other tiger spiders known to live in Sri Lanka because of its markings and "other significant differences." After further study, they were able to establish it as a new species.
Tiger spiders typically live in tree hollows, under rocks and, during monsoon season, in human dwellings that are close to forests. The Poecilotheria species exists only in India and Sri Lanka and is known for its colorful markings and remarkable speed – as well as its size.
Tiger spiders are large enough to eat birds, small snakes and mice and catch them using speed and potent venom, rather than webs.
Several species of Poecilotheria are endangered due to loss of habitat.
That's right, remarkably speedy, potently venomous, face sized spiders! Curse you nature, and remarkably incompetent copy editor! What an awful way to describe the size of a spider. Who would even think of such a thing?!?!?
We would like to go on about this a little longer, but we feel something crawling up our leg.