Friday , January 15 2021

Scientists discover tarantula with bizarre horns on the back

Spider expert Ian Enelbrecht photographed this close-up of the odd horn found on C. attonitifer.

Ian Enelbrecht

Sorry, your nightmare would like a word with you.

Take a moment to say hello to Ceratogyrus Attonitis, a spider with a species name derived from the Latin root of astonishment. Because it's just how amazed the scientists were that found it.

The new-to-scientific tarantula exerts a horn-like protrusion on the back. Researchers from the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project discovered it in Angola in Africa, while studying biodiversity in the region.

Ceratogyrus attonitis is a type of horned baboon spider, but the prominent soft horn is very unusual. The team described the tarantula in a paper released this month in the African Invertebrates journal. "No other spider in the world possesses a similar foveal protrusion," the researchers said.

The spiders are poisonous and like to eat on insects. "The fence is not considered dangerous, although bites can result in infections that can be fatal due to poor medical access," the papers write.

C. Attonitisers may be frightening or scary for people who fear spiders, but it is an eye-opener for arachnologists. Scientists hope to further study the mysterious spider to learn more about the scope of its reach.

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