‘Giant’ orange creature found lurking in Amazon rainforest. It’s a new species

While surveying the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, scientists stumbled upon an orange creature with eight legs and fangs.

The creature, a type of giant crab spider, is a new species and the first of its genus to be found in the country, according to a study published on July 6 in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Scientists affiliated with the University of San Francisco in Quito found the novel arachnid in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve, a protected swath of rainforest in the northeast corner of the country. It is considered one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.

While walking on a trail at night, scientists spotted several of the orange spiders “perched” on leaves and branches above the forest floor.

Researchers found the spiders, all of which were female, perched several feet above the forest floor during a nighttime excursion.

Researchers found the spiders, all of which were female, perched several feet above the forest floor during a nighttime excursion.

“Specimens were collected by hand, transported to the laboratory in plastic containers with leaf litter, photographed alive, and euthanized,” researchers said.

The specimens, all of which were female, were then placed in an ethanol solution for further analysis under a stereomicroscope.

It was then determined that the newfound spider belonged to the genus Sadala Simon, which is made up of about a dozen spiders ranging across Latin America.

The arachnids are known as crab spiders because of the stance they take while perched on plants, according to a news release from Ecuador’s National Institute of Biodiversity. They stand with their legs spread to their sides like crabs.

The new spider is no longer than an inch and is distinguished from others in the genus by subtle differences in its body shape.

The spider, named Sadala rauli, is a nocturnal hunter, stalking insects several feet above the forest floor, according to the National Institute of Biodiversity. Unlike many other spiders, it does not spin webs to catch prey.

Sadala rauli’s range is not well known since it has only been spotted in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve, scientists said, noting that further research will be required.

By regulating insect populations, spiders play a crucial role in ecosystems. However, the arachnids are largely understudied in Ecuador, where only 1,000 species have been identified, a small fraction of the numbers recorded in neighboring countries.

Google Translate was used to translate the news release from the National Institute of Biodiversity.

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