GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Amateur cave explorers have found a new family of spiders in southern Oregon that scientists have dubbed Trogloraptor (TRA’-gla-rap-tor), or cave robber, for its fearsome front claws.
The spelunkers sent specimens to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Entomologists there say the spider — the size of a half dollar — evolved so distinctly that it requires its own taxonomic family — the first new spider family from North America since 1870.
The species name, marchingtoni (mar-CHING’-tow-nee), honors Deschutes County sheriff’s Deputy Neil Marchington, who led scientists to the cave outside Grants Pass.
Academy entomologist Charles Griswold says the spider spins a crude web, but scientists don’t know yet what or how it eats.
The discovery is described in the online edition of the journal ZooKeys.
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