A New Desert Spider Species Is Discovered
by Alex Lee, age 13
Fifteen years ago, a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan started a scientific cooperation between the two countries. As a result of this cooperation, a new species of desert spider has been found. The Cerbalus aravensis was recently discovered in the Sands of Samar, a dune area on the border of Israel and Jordan.
Israeli and Jordanian biologists discovered the spider while looking for ecological and natural differences between their two sides of the Arava Valley.
The C. aravensis spider lives in small holes in the sand, which are reinforced with silk. The hole is covered with a door made of sand-encrusted silk that “completely conceals the entrance,” explains Dr. Uri Shanas, a biologist at Haifa University.
These spiders, growing up to five inches across, are larger than others in the region. Their diet consists of insects and small geckos.
Scientists have much to learn about this newly discovered species. Dr. Shanas feels time is short to study this spider—because of development, the Cerbalus aravensis’ habitat areas are shrinking.
[Source: The New York Times]