Newly discovered Australian spider breathes underwater, eats toads


Class Arachnida consists of any of the eight-legged creatures, such as spiders and scorpions. This genre of species is well diversified in Australia since even as of today; new spiders are still being discovered. The latest discovered spider was named in honour of Brian Greene who is a famous scientist and string theory professional.

This discovery added a new member to the water-spider genus called Dolomedes which was named Dolomedes briangreenei due to its unique ability to use minuscule vibrations (waves) to find its prey. In the first quarter of last year, researchers announced the first detection of gravitational waves in human history. For this reason, the renowned scientists Brian Greene was excited to be directly associated with Dolomedes briangreenei which has its deep affinity for waves.

The newly discovered spider is no different from others of the same species genre since it has similar characteristics such as a well-defined coat of velvety hairs, dark brown and a sex distinguishing attribute with males having white stripes on their heads while females have beige stripes.

These hairs cannot absorb nor be wetted by water hence regarded as hydrophobic, a characteristic that enables the spiders to skate across the water surface. Also, these spiders are capable of diving underneath the water surface and swim along the bottom. The hairs potentially form an air coat of trapped air which makes it possible for these spiders to breathe underwater using their abdominal lungs.

The majority of members of this genus prey on large food which includes fish, frogs and tadpoles. The newly discovered spider is one of its kind, it hunts by attaching itself to the shore with its back legs while spreading its remaining legs across the water. Moreover, the spider can detect and find vibrations that allow it to determine the exact location of its prey.

One can call D. briangreenei a super spider because it can know how far its prey is as well as determine the size of the prey. This attribute enables it to make an informed decision by evaluating the vibrations caused by big animals and tree leaves and branches falling into the water. Speed is well enhanced and using small claws at the tips of their legs the spiders are able to capture their prey.

Spiders are known to poses venom, which they use to paralyze their prey and D. briangreenei is no exception since it applies this mechanism and retreats to safe land to feast on its catch. However, on the brighter side, this venom is not lethal to humans so the latest discovered spider is no threat to humans.

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