A new species of red-fanged venomous spiders have been discovered living in caves outside of La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
The newly discovered creature is related to the highly venomous Brazilian wandering spider and has been determined to be venomous itself, but like most wandering spiders excluding the Brazilian species, is not extraordinarily dangerous to humans. Its most distinguishing characteristic is the presence of two prominent red fangs that appear to protrude downwards on either side of its mouthparts.
The species has been named the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider (Califorctenus cacachilensis). Researchers spotted the creature’s giant, shed exoskeleton during an expedition back in 2013 and used its eye pattern to link it to a group of wandering spiders from the family Ctenidae. But it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed the spider was a new species in a paper published in the journal Zootaxa.
Similar to other family members, Califorctenus cacachilensis boasts three rows of eyes, with two on the top and bottom enclosing a row of four in between. Ctenidae spiders are typically nocturnal and the Sierra Cacachilas accordingly inhabits dark grottos and old mines throughout the Baja area.
Sierra Cacachilas are about the size of a softball with a body length of 1 inch and legs that are 4 inches across. They are brown in color, with yellow abdomens and protruding chelicerae enclosed by two red condyles on either side, boasting the appearance of fangs.
“In all my experience over the years collecting spiders on the peninsula, I had never seen a spider this large,” Maria Luisa Jimenez, one of the paper’s authors, said in a blog post by the San Diego Natural History Museum. “I suspected that something new was waiting to be described.”
Check out this video below of the new species’ relative, the highly venomous Brazilian wandering spider: