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Scientists Find New Species Of Spider Native To Indiana Cave

Islandiana Lewisi, a new species of spider discovered in an Indiana cave. (Photo: Marc Milne)

A southern Indiana cave is home to a new species of spider.

An assistant professor of biology at the University of Indianapolis discovered the species, which is being called Islandiana Lewisi. It’s the first new spider in its genus to be found in over 30 years.

Marc Milne named the tiny, pale colored, sheet weaving spider after his colleague Julian Lewis, who clued him in to the arachnid’s existence. Minle says if you go out and look at your lawn in the morning, the tight weave of spider webbing stretched across the grass is likely a sheet weaving spider. Milne’s specialty is small spiders, and while he has discovered number of new species in his work, he says this one is special.

“Especially these sheet weavers that we are talking about, it’s very normal for some of these spiders not to get looked at or recorded or collected or studied in decades,” Milne says.

The 2-milimeter long spider was found in the Stygeon River cave, which Milne says could be the only place it can be found.

He says the fact the spider has lost much of his pigment, but still has eyes means it has been in the cave for a long time, but not that long in evolutionary terms.

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