New kind of six-eyed spider found

  • 4 July 2014
The Moravian Six-Eyed Spider Image copyright CTK/Milan Rezac

A Czech scientist says he has discovered a new type of spider with six eyes and some other novel characteristics.

Milan Rezac, a spider expert at the Crop Research Institute in Prague, found the unknown species in the Macocha Pass in the south of the Moravia region. He told the CTK news agency "it's quite a large spider, with a chestnut brown body and small dimples". It has six rather than the more usual eight eyes, and deploys a "special technique" to catch the small creatures like woodlice that it feeds on - which Dr Rezac is saving for his report to the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society in London.

He identifies it as a member of the Harpactea family, and named it the "Moravian six-eyed spider" (Harpactea Moravica). Like the rest of this family, the Moravian female dispenses with the usual spider stratagem of devouring her partner after intercourse, and the happy males go on to mate with several other females during their lifetime.

This is the third spider species that Dr Rezac is said to have found. He came across a poisonous spider on an earlier expedition to southern Moravia, and dubbed it Eresus Moravicus - the Moravian Ladybird Spider. And five years he made headlines with another discovery in Israel - a spider with a "unique and quite brutal reproduction method". He called it Harpactea Sadistica.

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