Dr. Ingi Agnarrason through a Nephilia spider, among the 15 species named in the brand-new study.Courtesy the the university of Vermont.

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It was assumed that the spider genus Spintharus included three species, only one of which lived in the Caribbean.

Then, Ingi Agnarsson took 4 undergraduate field biology college student on a trip to research biodiversity in the Caribbean. When there, they found the Spintharus genus is way more diverse than previously known. Castle collected, studied, described and named 15 brand-new species. Their study was published Tuesday in The Zoological newspaper of the Linnean Society.


A woman Spintharus berniesandersi, a smiley-face spider named after Bernie Sanders. Photograph Courtesy that Agnarsson Lab.Courtesy the the university of Vermont.Even v all the new species gift named, Agnarsson is certain there are much more to it is in discovered. They learned spiders native only about 30 islands, and also they recognize there are an ext of this genus on bigger islands and also elsewhere.

"I"m details there will be dozens of an ext species the this group," claimed Agnarsson. "And that"s one of the purposes of this paper, to draw attention to this gold mine of diversity."

This genus is well-known as "Smiley challenge Spiders," since they show up to have actually smiley faces, or clown faces, on your backs. They also have distinctively ornate webs. If some species of this team look similar, Agnarsson and his students used molecular testing to identify that lock had gathered 15 distinctive species.

The students gained to surname the spiders, and also they made decision to honor celebrities lock felt room champions of person rights and conservation: there are Spintharus berniesandersi, S. Davidattenboroughi, S. Barackobamai and S. Michelleobamai, because that example, ~ Bernie Sanders, David Attenborough, Barack Obama and also Michelle Obama.

Agnarsson claims the celebrities don"t yet know they were contained in this research, yet he wishes they will watch it in the news.

The 4 students Agnarsson selected were taking independent undergraduate ar biology courses at the college of Vermont, and also he lugged them come the Caribbean since there is wealth of understudied varieties there.


Dr. Ingi Agnarsson with a Nephilia spider. Photograph Courtesy that Agnarsson Lab.Courtesy the the university of VermontWithout an in-depth study, it"s feasible for a taxonomist come think the all this different pets belong to the exact same species. The differences in between them could be attributed come intraspecies variance—different features being existing from one separation, personal, instance to another.

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Typically, a scientist might wait to publish a study until that or she had explained all the species in a genus, yet it was clear the there are much too plenty of in this situation to do that. Furthermore, Aganarsson and the college student felt it was vital to i have announced this study to show a larger point: the there is wealth of under-explored biodiversity in the Caribbean.