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Cyprus

New spider species discovered in Kyrenia mountains

A new spider species was discovered by researchers in the north, the Near East University announced on Friday after the news was published in the Arachnological bulletin of the Middle East and North Africa.

The spider was found by a team led by scientists from the Near East University, Ege University and the wildlife research institute as part of a project in the Kyrenia mountains aimed at cataloguing the spider fauna of Cyprus.

“It is abundant in Pentadactylos but unique to Cyprus,” Salih Gucel, the professor leading the project said.

The little spider, which is the size of the tip of a small finger, is not venomous for humans but it has venom which it uses to catch its prey, he explained.

It is not yet clear if the Harpactea gunselorum, named to honour the Gunsel family who founded the Near East University, is present in other parts of the island.

“Due to the political problem we won’t check if it exists in Troodos, we will ask our colleagues in the south,” the scientist said.

The newly-discovered spider belongs to the Harpactea genus which has 180 known species. They are non-web building predators that forage on the ground at night. The Harpactea gunselorum typically has a length of 1.5 centimetres and feeds on insects. It has six eyes and a brownish colour and its legs are covered with blackish hair.

Almost all Harpactea spiders are endemic to small regions of the Mediterranean and are known for preferring to live in hot environments.

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