Posts Tagged ‘Spider’

A few days ago, I went into my boss’s office to go over an extra credit assignment he is creating for a class I am helping with.  As we looked at the tree of life and talked a bit, he showed me something amazing.  From a desk drawer, he pulled out a small test tube with a bit of cotton blocking the open end.  walking around inside the test tube was a small spider, only about half a centimeter long.  My boss has done a lot of work studying spiders all around the world, and in particular has focused his work on spiders hat live in caves.  This was just such a spider.  Completely blind having no eyes at all due to having evolved in the total darkness of a cave, my boss was keeping it cool in his desk and feeding it fruit flies.  Some people exploring a cave near Sonora, CA had found this spider, collected it, and had then brought it to my boss for identification.  And here is the amazing part.  It could not be identified because it was a species that had never been described before!  This was s first for me; to hold an undescribed species!  It reminded me just how little we really know about the biodiversity of the world around us, including the world in our backyards.  So, there I was holding a small piece of the unknown, staring into tone of the white regions of the map.  Really exciting!

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