A new species of tarantula discovered by a Thai YouTube star

“These animals are truly remarkable; they are the first known tarantulas with a bamboo-based ecology,” Narin Chomphuphuang, a researcher with the department of entomology and plant pathology at Khon Kaen University in Thailand, said in an article by blog.
Thai wildlife enthusiast JoCho Sippawat, who has 2.5 million YouTube subscribers, first encountered the tarantula during a trip to the forest near where he lives in Mae Tho, Thailand. Mueang Tak district in Thailand’s northwest Tak province, Chomphuphuang said.

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.

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“We examined all the trees in the area where the species was discovered. This species is unique because it is associated with bamboo, and we have never observed this species of tarantula in any other plant,” he said. he stated in a press release.

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.

Spiders build tubes of silk inside bamboo stalks.

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.

The researchers said there are many wild animals in Thailand that remain undocumented.

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 tarantula lives in the high hill forests of northern Thailand at an altitude of about 1000 meters.

“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.”

The research was published last week in Zookeys magazine.

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