Oldest-known spider killed by wasp at age of 43

Danny Woods
May 1, 2018

The 43-year-old spider helped scientist to find out important function about the behaviour of an arachnid that can be found across Australia, including in domestic gardens.

"To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider's behavior and popular dynamics", Mason said.

A research project to study trapdoor spiders was started by Barbara York Main in 1974.

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These arachnids usually live between 5 and 20 years. Trapdoor spiders are remarkable predators. These spiders live much longer than other arthropods, and experts are trying to learn their "secrets".

In addition to breaking a new record, the death of this spider at age 43 also demonstrates that long-term research is essential to understanding how different species live in the Australian environment and how they might evolve in the future to adapt or not to climate change. It typically takes seven to nine years for a male trapdoor spider to mature and to leave the burrow in search of a mate, after which it dies. By 2016, over 150 burrows had been tagged, but the first 15 spiders, and many subsequent ones, have died in the intervening years. Althought, the spider didn't die of old age, but was killed by a wasp sting, researchers said Monday. Number 16 was monitored in the wild. Once the egg hatches, the spider is consumed by the larva from the inside out.

Giaus villosus is one of the most ancient forms of life on the planet. The scientists found the spider dead during a long-term population study. According to Phys.org, researchers believe the spiders can survive so long in the Australian outback thanks to their slow metabolism, distance from humans and sedentary nature.

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