New species of jumping spider. Image: R. Whyte, Bush Blitz

Australia’s Cape York Peninsula has been declared a spider hotspot — with more than fifty new species revealed during just one expedition.  

Busch Blitz is Australia’s largest nature discovery program, boasting a relationship with the Australian government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, and Earthwatch. This impressive initiative has already documented more than 1,000 new species of spiders.

A recent team consisting of 23 scientists, rangers, and traditional owners spent multiple weeks exploring woodlands and rock quarries throughout Quinkan County in northern Queensland, Australia.

New species saddle-legged trapdoor spider. Image: R. Whyte, Bush Blitz

There were four arachnologists on the outing and they quickly began identifying new species of spiders.

“Under one rock, down in a gully with a fresh-water spring pumping through, I found species from six arachnid orders. It was absolutely spectacular to see all these six groups together,” stated Dr. Robert Raven to Australian Geographic.

The immense diversity in the area is what most captured the scientists’ attention. There was a range of spiders spanning those smaller than your fingertips to the largest tarantulas. This will end up being the largest number of new species of spiders ever found on a Busch Blitz expedition.

New species of ant-eating spider. Image: R. Whyte, Bush Blitz

Although 50 new species have already been identified, scientists are still working on scientifically classifying the remaining animals.

“With over 1,200 new species discovered by Bush Blitz already we are slowly filling gaps in our knowledge of Australia’s biodiversity,” Ms. Harding said in a press release.

This part of Quinkan County has not yet been studied in depth and from what has already been found, it is likely to continue to be a hotspot of biodiverse discovery.

New species of bush-footed trapdoor spider. Image: R. Whyte, Bush Blitz