Science News has unfortunate news for arachnophobes who like relaxing in bamboo furniture. For the first time in more than a century, a new species of tarantula has been discovered in Asia, and it prefers to make its home inside bamboo stems:
Taksinus bambus, as the spider is officially known, “is the world’s first tarantula with a biology tied to bamboo,” says arachnologist Narin Chomphuphuang of Khon Kaen University in Thailand.
Bamboo stems, or culms, give the tarantula ready-made burrows and nests. But T. bambus lacks the tools to bore into culms, so it relies on natural forces or animals such as borer beetles and rodents to create openings, Chomphuphuang and colleagues report January 4 in ZooKeys. Once inside, bambootula builds a silk “retreat tube” that keeps the spider secure and helps it move around easily.
Chomphuphuang was introduced to the tarantula by JoCho Sippawat, a popular wildlife YouTuber who discovered it when cutting bamboo in the forest near his home.