Two jumping spider species found in NE

Researchers working at the Centre for DNA Taxonomy, Zoological Survey of India, have found two new jumping spider species from Assam.

By ROOPAK GOSWAMI in Guwahati
  • Published 12.09.18
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Colyttus proszynskii and Synagelides brahmaputra

Guwahati: Researchers working at the Centre for DNA Taxonomy, Zoological Survey of India, have found two new jumping spider species from Assam.

The spider has derived its named from its ability to jump by means of which it catches its prey. The two new species - Colyttus proszynskii and Synagelides brahmaputra - were found in a field survey last year from Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary and Bherjan-Borajan-Padumoni wildlife sanctuary in Upper Assam respectively.

The discovery has been reported in the current issue of Acta Arachnologica.

The jumping spider family (Salticidae) is the most diverse spider family, with their world fauna consisting of 6,088 described species. In India, there are about 250 species of jumping spiders known till date. They are diverse, tiny creatures, easily recognised by their large anterior median eyes. These diurnal predators are well known for their brilliant vision and swift reflexes.

Vikas Kumar of The Centre for DNA Taxonomy, Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, said genus Colyttu is recorded for the first time in India with the discovery and description of the new species ( Colyttus proszynskii). The species is named after Jerzy Proszynski, a Polish salticidologist (a world authority on Salticid taxonomy for his constant support and encouragement towards development of Indian taxonomy).

Most members of the genus were found inhabiting rainforests in Southeast Asia. Similarly, the new species was also found to be dwelling in the shrubs of the rainforest inside the Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary situated in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts.

The genus Synagelides comprises 46 described species known from Asia, of which three are known from India. The new species ( Synagelides brahmaputra) is named after the river Brahmaputra. The specimen was collected near Bherjan-Borajan-Padumoni wildlife sanctuary in Tinsukia district. The species can be easily distinguished from other related species by the abdominal colour pattern with a thin transverse white stripe and six pairs of ventral tibial spines on the first leg.

"Northeast India is one of the hotspots of biodiversity. It is, however, the least studied and under-explored regions in terms of biodiversity studies. It is home to several species of both plants and animals. The discovery of two new species of jumping spiders from this region represents only the tip of the iceberg. Conservation of habitat is the need of the hour as it may harbour many more undiscovered life forms. Habitat destruction because of anthropogenic activities threatens the very survival of several species which are associated with the habitat," he said.