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Scientists Find New Genus of Tarantula in Thailand

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Thailand's Khon Kaen University Finds New Genus of Tarantula
Entomologists at Thailand’s Khon Kaen University have announced the discovery of a new genus of Tarantula. It was discovered atop a mountain at an altitude above 1,000 metres in Thailand’s Tak province. The first such discovery in 104 years.

Several entomologists attended a press conference held by the agriculture faculty at Khon Kaen University on Wednesday to announce the discovery of the bamboo-dwelling spider.

The species of spider dubbed Taksinus bambus in Asia has been described as a new genus and species. The discovery of a newly discovered species represents the first time a newly discovered species has been found in Tak.

Researchers from Khon Kaen and Kasetsart universities were among those to make the discovery, along with independent scientists.

Thai wildlife enthusiast JoCho Sippawat, who has 2.5 million subscribers on YouTube, encountered the tarantula in the forest near Mae Tho in Mueang Tak district, Tak province, northwestern Thailand.
Sippawat then sent an image of the spider to Narin Chomphuphuang, an arachnologist at Khon Kaen University who studies spiders.

Narin Chomphuphuang said the team named the newly discovered tarantula after King Taksin the Great. The monarch ruled Tak during the 18th century. There is one distinctive feature of this species, which is that it only lives in bamboo, according to the researcher.

The only tarantula that lives on bamboo

He added that the species was found in a remote area never before explored. A bamboo forest on a mountain more than 1,000 meters above sea level.

Only 31% of Thailand’s untouched forests remain, which poses an existential risk to the tarantula.

Usually, tarantulas live on or in trees in Southeast Asia. A tree-dwelling tarantula usually spends time living on different kinds of trees, but this is the first tarantula to live exclusively on bamboo. Thailand is home to only one tree-dwelling tarantula, he said.

The spider finds many advantages in making its home in bamboo, according to Chomphuphuang. Bamboo contains moisture that helps spiders maintain their temperature, especially tarantulas who shed their exoskeleton as they moult. The bamboo’s slippery surface keeps predators away.

Until now, only three of these huge spiders could be found in Thailand; The Thai Zebra Tarantula; The Cobalt Blue Tarantula; and the Thai Black Tarantula. Now there is a fourth Tarantula.
It is fortunate that their bite is not deadly for people unless they have allergies, he said

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