News & Events
The oldest planet spider discovered
- December 23, 2019
- Posted by: Wiley M. Wagner
- Category: Science
Australian biology researchers from the University of Curtin today presented their new study on the new record holder among Australian and world spiders – namely, the matriarch spider species Gaius Villosus from the ctenizid family. The record is that this matriarch, it turns out, was a long-liver – 43 years old – which by the standards of the insectoid class is a truly breathtaking indicator. An article with the studied characteristics of the metabolism and properties of this matriarch more fully reveals them in the scientific journal Pacific Conservation Biology, where experts explained all aspects of such an impressive longevity in spiders.
The previous record belonged to a 28-year-old tarantula from Mexico, but this time, experts are dealing with a truly unique case. Despite the fact that the matriarch’s population and she herself have already died, the researchers nevertheless managed to select the DNA material of the spider and use it to trace all the factors associated with the longevity of the spider.
Using DNA sequencing technology, they found that this matriarch of the Gaius Villosus species had a very slow metabolism and the ability to adapt the body's internal chemical reactions depending on the geographical area of Australia – which even by the standards of adaptability of this spider family is a rare result. It is worth noting the fact that the research team relied to a greater extent on the previous experience of researching these spiders, recorded back in 1974 by Barbara York.
Barbara York, now 88-year-old specialist in arachnology, willingly shared the results of her old study, during which she managed to establish new interesting relationships – for example, this matriarch rebuilt the chemical chains of proteins at a certain point, depending on the external environmental conditions. Continuing to study these features, experts hope to come to results that, in theory, will significantly expand the understanding of evolutionary biology as a whole.