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New spider found in giant sand dune in Israel

A new species of spider has been discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar in the southern Arava region of Israel, scientists from from the department of biology at the University of Haifa-Oranim said this week.

With a leg span of up to 5.5 inches (14 centimeters), the new spider is the largest of its type in the Middle East, the scientists said.

Its habitat is endangered. “It could be that there are other unknown species [in the dune] that will become extinct before we can discover them,” said Uri Shanas of the University of Haifa, who is heading research in the area.

Cerbalus-aravensis-spider-photo-1.jpg

Photo by Yael Olek, courtesy of the University of Haifa

“The discovery of this new spider illustrates our obligation to preserve the dune,” Shanas said.

The Sands of Samar are the last remaining sand dune in Israeli territory in the southern Arava region, the university said. In the past, the sands stretched some three square miles (seven square kilometers), but due to the rezoning of areas for agriculture and sand quarries, the sands have been reduced to less than half that.

The spider is a member of the Cerbalus genus. Since it was found in the Arava, it was been given the name Cerbalus aravensis.

Cerbalus-aravensis-spider-photo-2.jpg

Photo by Yael Olek, courtesy of the University of Haifa

“Even though details are still lacking to enable a full analysis of its biology and of its population in the sands, the scientists know that this is a nocturnal spider, mostly active in the hottest months of the year, and that it constructs an underground den which is closed with a ‘lifting door’ made of sand particles that are glued together to camouflage the den,” the university explained.

Cerbalus-aravensis-spider-photo-3.jpg

Photo by Roy Talbi, courtesy of the University of Haifa

The Israel Land Administration intends to renew mining projects in the Sands of Samar in the near future, which will endanger the existence of the newly discovered spider, Shanas said.

It is possible that there are additional unknown animal species living in the sands, and therefore efforts should be made to preserve this unique region in the Arava, the researcher added.

“The new discovery shows how much we still have to investigate, and that there are likely to be many more species that are unknown to us. If we do not preserve the few habitats that remain for these species, they will become extinct before we can even discover them,” Shanas said.

Comments

  1. Corndog
    Penrith, NSW
    June 13, 2013, 5:56 am

    Helped me with my project thanx :)

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  4. ahmed
    maldives
    October 29, 2011, 10:08 am

    we should name it “the white and black sand spider

  5. Jasmin Betts
    USA
    September 17, 2011, 5:26 am

    Hey nice spider…

  6. prasad
    mumbai
    June 24, 2011, 8:53 am

    i got Cerbalus aravensis spider at my home.Are they poisonous? the look like long legged trantulas, are they in the family Theraphosidae?

  7. Ab type 011
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 9, 2011, 11:05 am

    Awww…I want one XD…No, seriously, I WANT one.

  8. Husker
    June 22, 2010, 12:03 am

    It is possible that there are additional unknown animal species living in the sands, and therefore efforts should be made to preserve this unique region in the Arava

  9. madina
    June 20, 2010, 1:59 am

    interesting spider, but look dangerous to me.

  10. madina
    June 20, 2010, 1:56 am

    Is the spider poisonous?

  11. madina
    June 20, 2010, 1:52 am

    nice photos.

  12. Franz
    June 19, 2010, 7:57 am

    14 cm for a new found spider is very large. The first photo looks great. thanks

  13. Bill Andreas
    June 19, 2010, 1:56 am

    Arava region, the university said. In the past, the sands stretched some three square miles (seven square kilometers), but due to the rezoning of areas for agriculture and sand quarries, the sands have been reduced to less than half that.

  14. KULALA
    June 18, 2010, 10:32 pm

    Wow that is a really beautiful creature mash’Allah..the colors are just amazing, but I wouldn’t want to see those colors close up :/

  15. sean
    June 17, 2010, 10:33 pm

    It’s funny.

  16. manolo
    June 17, 2010, 8:19 pm

    It is beautiful , looks poisonous to me.

  17. mivpl
    June 17, 2010, 10:19 am

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  18. kobe
    June 17, 2010, 3:46 am

    I think it is very dangerous!
    thank alot of!

  19. KULALA
    June 16, 2010, 8:27 pm

    that’s weird!! But I simply love it.

  20. jack
    June 16, 2010, 8:18 pm

    thanks for sharing

  21. Thong Lee
    June 16, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Is the spider poisonous?
    I bookmarked it into my facebook and digg and share the good stuff with my friends too,Keep up work.Is there more aspect
    about this subject?I am looking forward to seeing it .
    Regards,
    Lee

  22. travelcrazyjim
    June 16, 2010, 1:05 pm

    Looks great! Keep finding such incredible creatures.

  23. travelcrazyjim
    June 16, 2010, 11:55 am

    I have never seen such a colourful sipder. That looks great.

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    June 16, 2010, 3:07 am

    Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  25. lbrother
    June 16, 2010, 12:53 am

    this huge spider looks pretty scarable, its gotta be posionous.

  26. walk in tubs
    June 16, 2010, 12:20 am

    Is the spider poisonous?
    I bookmarked it into my facebook and digg and share the good stuff with my friends too,Keep up work.Is there more aspect
    about this subject?I am looking forward to seeing it .

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    June 15, 2010, 9:27 pm

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  29. transfer factor plus
    June 15, 2010, 12:37 pm

    interesting spider, but look dangerous to me.

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    June 15, 2010, 1:06 am

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    June 15, 2010, 12:25 am

    wow guys, great article very informative, be back soon!

  32. atlantaplumber
    June 14, 2010, 10:46 pm

    In the plumbing business we run across black widow spiders on a daily basis. For some reason they love those damp water meter boxes. If I saw a spider that big in a water box I would quit opening them for good.

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    June 14, 2010, 1:21 pm

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  35. todoslot
    June 13, 2010, 8:34 am

    nice article, definitely.

  36. zmarburg
    June 9, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Amazing findings. I have studied similar discoveries for years now, the dune tarantula is one of the rarest forms I’ve ever scene. Has due credit been given to these discoveries?

  37. caron1
    June 9, 2010, 7:51 am

    I havent any word to appreciate this post…..Really i am impressed from this post….the person who generate this post it was a great human..thanks for sharing this with us.

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    June 4, 2010, 2:32 am

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    May 29, 2010, 12:27 pm

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  41. Susancai
    May 28, 2010, 2:53 am

    We must protect the chain of life, the species. A great many species are endangering. We human beings need to reflect on some behaviors.

  42. Tom1492
    May 27, 2010, 11:42 pm

    It is our obligation not just to preserve the dunes but also all natural resources as well for our sakes. What an amazing creature and thank you NG for being one of the best net sources for all things living and wonderful.

  43. Tennessee Individual Health Insurance
    May 7, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Cool! I really hope we can keep the around.

  44. joe cole
    April 29, 2010, 4:07 am

    Wow the best I Spider beautiful rare photo was actually pretty toxic strains have silk.

  45. michael mallows
    April 2, 2010, 7:16 am

    It is indeed a beautiful creature!
    And it is truly lamentable that so many of us can be so indifferent to beauty or to the sanctity of Life.
    I wish it were not so, and my heart cries out at the desecration of our world.
    And yet, and yet, I know that, in response to so much that matters, in truth, I will do little to make any meaningful difference.
    I am tempted to ‘justify’ this by listing what I already do, or by expressing my indignation ever more vociferously, but what I’ll settle for is simply to speak the simple truth of this message; I DO care but not enough.
    Go well

  46. eyal
    March 19, 2010, 3:43 pm

    cool in the Bible spiders represent time it’s about time hope they will survive for a long time… :)

  47. saveourearth
    January 21, 2010, 1:38 am

    it’s beautiful! i hope we get to keep them around!

  48. coleman
    January 15, 2010, 7:21 pm

    awesome!

  49. jamie13
    January 15, 2010, 6:06 pm

    wow! lovin it!

  50. YoungGringos
    January 15, 2010, 1:25 pm

    beautiful! I hope we can keep them around.

  51. Coats
    January 15, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Are they poisonous? the look like long legged trantulas, are they in the family Theraphosidae?

  52. Vulpini
    January 15, 2010, 4:43 am

    Israel Land Administration stop those mining projects. I can’t accept any more extinctions. Cerbalus Aravensis is a new specie and we don’t know a lot about them and now they’re about to extinct? Plus they look really beautiful.

  53. Mike
    January 14, 2010, 2:52 pm

    Both cool and interesting!