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| Last Updated:14/11/2018

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Two new species of spiders found at Mumbai"s Aarey Milk Colony

MUMBAI: A team of young naturalists has discovered two spider species at Aarey Milk Colony. The species, which belong to the families of spitting and lynx spiders, have been named Dictis mumbaiensis (after Mumbai city) and Peucetia phantasma (since it only hunts on the silver-barked ghost tree).

"The new spitting spider, named after Mumbai, is unique as, not only is it a new species, but the genus Dictis itself is a new record for the Mumbai region, beside being reported from India, for the first time, by both, our team, as well as another researcher from Central India (who has discovered another new species belonging to the same genus),'' said naturalist and spider researcher, Javed Ahmed.

He added that the lynx spider species has been named 'phantasma' as it means 'ghost' in Latin. This spider solely dwells and hunts on the silvery ghost tree (botanical name: Sterculia urens) found in the city.

The Indian Journal of Arachnology, published by the Indian Society of Arachnology, which reports scientific articles on novel and significant observations of arachnid groups, published these latest spider findings on Monday.

The discovery of these species from a crowded metropolitan like Mumbai showcases the unique ability of species to hold on to every and any available niche for survival, while emphasizing the need for localized biodiversity documentation efforts, so as to better understand the number of species inhabiting the region, before attempting any conservation action plan.

Naturalist and wildlife author Sunjoy Monga said, "This is good news from the micro-fauna world. Earlier there was this issue to redevelop Aarey Colony; but further reduction of greenery can affect the research progress in such discoveries.''