Sippawat then emailed an image of the spider to Chomphuphuang, an arachnologist, who is a scientist who studies spiders.
Chomphuphuang immediately thought it was a new species of tarantula – but it was only after a field trip to investigate and study the spider that the creature was officially declared new to science. Distinct from all other known tarantulas, it has been declared a new genus and species – Taksinus bambus. It is named in honor of the 18th century Thai king Taksin the Great.
Tarantulas in Southeast Asia generally live on the ground or in trees. Tree tarantulas typically spend time on different types of trees, and this is the first tarantula to live exclusively on a specific plant. The newly recognized spider is the only tree tarantula to live in Thailand, according to the study.
Chomphuphuang said building his house out of bamboo has many benefits for the spider. Bamboo contains moisture which helps the spider maintain its temperature, which is especially important for tarantulas, which molt and shed their exoskeleton. The slippery surface of bamboo also deters predators.
Taksinus bambus has adapted to life in the hollow stems of bamboo by constructing tube-like bores with its silk as nest entrances. He also builds tubes of silk inside the bamboo that he can retreat into.
Tarantulas do not bore holes in the bamboo stalks themselves. Instead, they depend on the help of other animals.
Bamboo is attacked by many animals, including beetles and worms, according to the study. Or sometimes bamboo cracks open due to changes in humidity.
Chomphuphuang said few people realize how undocumented Thai wildlife is still.
“Our main mission is to study and save the biodiversity and fauna present in these forests, in particular the species-specific microhabitats, from extinction,” he said.
“The first step is to educate people about this species and its locality. Then this forest area needs to be managed and protected for wildlife.”