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New spider species named after alpine skiing champion Tina Maze

Discovery of six new species of Bark spiders from Africa and Madagascar “Bark spiders” (genus Caerostris) have recently been shown to produce the largest webs among all spiders, and these webs are made of nature’s toughest fibers, a promising biomaterial. Bark spiders also exhibit female gigantism, where females are several times larger than males, and are thus promising candidates for research on the evolution of sexual size dimorphism. Yet, the true diversity of this spider genus native to Africa, Madagascar and parts of Asia has been unknown. Researchers from the EZ lab and USA now provide the first phylogeny of Caerostris. Their results provide evidence for six previously undescribed species form Africa and particularly from Madagascar. They name them C. almae, C. bojani, C. pero, C. wallacei, C. linnaeus, and C. tinamaze whose name choice is particularly noteworthy.


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