NEW SPIDER SPECIES IN KERALA
06, Apr 2019
Prelims level : Environment Mains level : General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Why in News:
- A group of jumping spiders that mostly occur in Eurasia and Africa, has been spotted for the first time in Ernakulam’s ILLITHODU forests. The team also found that the spider belonging to the genus (a taxonomic classification above species) HABROCESTUM is a species new to science.
- The team came across the different looking spiders — six of them, predominantly brownish- black in colour with white and creamy-yellow patches, while conducting a routine survey for ground-dwelling spiders in the Illithodu reserve forests of the Malayatoor forest division, barely 60 km from there. They examined the physical features of males and females. They also compared these to similar-looking spider specimens collected earlier from the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary.
Features of HABROCESTUM:
- The spider also has a single long spine on the underside of both its first legs, and this gave it its scientific name Habrocestum longispinum .
- It measures just around 2 mm and seems to prefer dry habitats, dwelling in forest litter.
- Malayattor, which means a place which lies near the hill and river, is located about 50 km north-east from Kochi on the banks of River Periyar.
- The St.Thomas Shrine in Malayattoor is one of the oldest Catholic church in India ,where St.Thomas, the Apostle, spent time in Prayer while on proselytizing work in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is one among the seven churches believed to have been established by St Thomas who arrived in Kerala in 52 AD. It is said that St Thomas on his visit to Kurisumudi, knelt on the rock and made the sign of the cross with his finger on the ground and prayed there for a long time. Kurisumudi was a dense forest where wild animals roamed around freely.
- According to lore, tuskers attached this ancient chapel but could not cause any major harm. The marks of elephant attack on the back wall of the chapel are clearly visible through the glass facade.
ILLITHODU Reserve Forests:
- The main attraction here is the river flowing through the forest. It has thick forest of Mahagony, Teak.
- While stepping into the river one must be very careful as there are strong undercurrents in certain areas.
- One can also see monkeys climbing or moving through the trees. The deep forest and the river is a favourite location of film makers.