Velvet Spiders Emerge from Underground
A new elaborate image library documenting the anatomy of all the major kinds of velvet spider has been assembled by an international team of researchers including professor Nikolaj Sharff from CMEC at The National History Museum of Denmark.
Social underground spiders
Velvet spiders include some of the most beautiful spiders in Europe and some of the world’s most cooperative spider species. However, most species keep well hidden or dig burrows and live underground. Because of the cryptic habits of most velvet spiders, scientific knowledge of this spider family is uneven to say the least.
New genus named after Lou Reed
The project also used DNA sequence data to reconstruct the evolutionary history of velvet spiders. The DNA data confirmed that one particularly enigmatic species belongs to a new genus. In recognition of the fact that this velvet spider lives underground, the new genus has been named Loureedia in a whimsical salute to the musician who began his distinguished career leading the 60s rock band “The Velvet Underground.”
The full-color monograph is freely available for download through the web site of the journal ZooKeys
Pictures and descriptions also appear on the wiki web site Species-ID
A colorful ladybird spider
Photo: Pavel Krásenský
The velvet spider Loureedia
Photo: Martin Forman