A rare breed of jumping spiders have been discovered for the first time in India.
A rare breed of jumping spiders has been discovered for the first time in India. The Neobrettus spider has previously only been found in part of south and south-east Asia. These minuscule jumping spiders are renowned egg thieves, who steal and eat eggs from other jumping spiders, sometimes of their own kind as well. The genus Neobrettus was discovered by Indranil Banerjee, a wildlife photographer, who captured images of this spider in a fruit orchard in West Bengal. The main researchers in this discovery, Javed Ahmed, Dr Krishna Mohan and Rajashree Khalap collaborated with Dr David E Hill and Dr Richard J Pearce, both experts in arachnology. The discovery was published in ‘Peckhamia’ a world-acclaimed peer-reviewed open access scientific journal dedicated to the study of jumping spiders. Neobrettus tibialis found in Malaysia greatly resembles this particular one from West Bengal, leading the researchers to believe that this is a species discovered for the first time in India. Neobrettus belongs to the sub-tribe Spartaeina, which includes Portia albimanus and Brettus cingulatus, both of which have documented presence in India. The one-year long field observations began in February 2017 and concluded the species of the erstwhile unidentified arachnid as a Neobrettus based on its squat shape and fuzzy hair. They were observed as 1 male to every 20 female, and scientists feel that they will thrive in the tropical to sub-tropical India, given their tendency to live on dried banana leaves.
Credit: Indranil Banerjee