Scientists describe the fifty thousand (!)

Scientists describe the fifty thousand (!)

But their work is far from over: at least 50,000 species of spiders are expected to be discovered.

A special moment last week: Spider World Catalog With a new type of spider. It must be admitted: this in itself is not very unique; New spider species are regularly described and added to the catalog. However, the addition of newly discovered spider species is noteworthy. It is about 50,000 species of spiders officially described and added to the catalog!

spider jump
This 50,000th species of spider has been discovered in southern Brazil and is also found in Uruguay and around Buenos Aires. The spider has a name gororios minuano And it belongs to the jumping spiders: a family that already includes more than 5400 (!) species, distributed in more than 570 genera.

There are still 50,000 species to go (researchers believe)
The discovery of 50,000 species of spiders is surely a milestone. But it is by no means an end point; When it comes to spotting spiders, researchers expect that they’re only halfway there for now. Worldwide, there are about 50,000 other species of spiders waiting to be discovered. “It is just an estimate,” confirms Professor Christian Krupp, from Natural History Museum Bern (Switzerland) that Spider World Catalog homes.

centuries of work
The first species of spiders was described in 1757. This means that it took scientists 265 years to discover and describe the first 50,000 species of spiders. However, it seems unlikely that another two and a half centuries would be needed to discover the remaining 50,000 species. Today, the speed of discovery of new spider species is much higher than in the past. “Taxonomists are working faster,” Krupp says. “This is due to more advanced methods, such as image stacking (combining several shots to get clearer images, editor), drawing software, scanning techniques, etc. Previously, every detail of a new type had to be clarified manually and this required Much more employment.

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Extinct
Although today scientists are able to discover new spider species at a much faster rate, it is not clear that it will also be possible to describe all spider species in time. “It is not possible to discover all the species that exist on Earth,” Krupp believes. “Some species will become extinct – for example due to deforestation, agricultural intensification or climate change – before we detect them.”

Here you can see 50,000 species of spiders that have been added to the global spider catalog. The picture shows a female gororios minuano† Photo: Damien Hagopian.

So some rush is advised. Anthropologists are doing everything they can to track down new spider species. “The more species we know, the more we know about the distribution of species in the past and present, and the more we know about the regions in which they occur, the better able we are to take science-based measures aimed at species conservation. Based on this research, we can also Better appreciate how important certain areas are to biodiversity conservation and management.”

And so anthropologists do something that makes many arachnophobes shiver: they spare no effort in searching for new species of spiders (literally!). This has clearly paid off in the past 265 years and will undoubtedly lead to many beautiful discoveries in the decades and centuries to come. This might not be something to look forward to for people who are afraid of spiders, but it’s important not to forget how important spiders are, says Krupp. Also for us humans. For example, spiders are indispensable when it comes to regulating insect numbers; It is estimated that spiders around the world consume between 400 to 800 million tons of insects each year. No wild ecosystem would function without spiders. Take out the spiders and the ecosystem will collapse.”

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