“Scientists have found the world’s largest species of golden orb-weaver spider in the tropics of Africa and Madagascar. The discovery marks the first identification of a new Nephila spider since 1879. Females of the new species, Nephila komaci, measure a whopping 4 to 5 inches in diameter, while the male spiders stay petite at less than a quarter of their mate’s size. So far, only a handful of these enormous arachnids have been found in the world,” Wired reports. Ecologist Jonathon Coddington of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History said: “We fear the species might be endangered, as its only definite habitat is a sand forest in Tembe Elephant Park in KwaZulu-Natal. Our data suggest that the species is not abundant, its range is restricted, and all known localities lie within two endangered biodiversity hotspots: Maputaland and Madagascar.”
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