New Species Of Tarantula Discovered


First observed by Amila Sumanapala in 2012 in a fragmented forest patch in the Western Province. Only one species of the genus Chilobrachys namely, Chilobrachys nitelinus, was known from Sri Lanka by this time.

After the taxonomic work on the newly collected specimen,the species  recognized it to differ from Chilobrachys nitelinus by having turquois-blue sheen on its carapace, chelicerae, abdomen and legs where those of the later species is blackish, and having structurally different reproductive structures. He did the scientific description of the species based on the collected specimen in collaboration with the tarantula expert Peter Kirk. The new species was named Chilobrachys jonitriantisvansicklei in honour of Joni Triantis Van Sickle who is the co-founder of the IDEA WILD, a foundation supporting biodiversity research around the globe. The discovery was published in the Journal of the British Tarantula Society.

The newly described ground tarantula lives in burrows made in soil banks covered with mosses. These burrows are lined with silk and the entrance is circular in shape. They prey on insects and other small animals and spiders wait near the burrow entrance at night looking for potential prey to capture. The silk near the burrow entrance and extended outside the entrance, help the spiders sense the approaching prey. The females of the species are larger and when the legs are unfolded the total length of a female individual is around 15 cm.

Major threats to the tarantulas in Sri Lanka : Habitat loss due to development activities and encroachment for agricultural and settlement expansions, Habitat fragmentation, Illegal collection for pet trade, Being killed by people out of fear.