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New spider found in Thar desert named after Malayali researcher

A Malayalee arachnologist’s name has been given to a new species of spider found in Rajasthan’s Thar desert.

In honour of Sudhikumar A.V., Head, Department of Zoology, Christ College, Irinjalakuda, and founder of the Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology (CATE) and his contributions to the area of Indian arachnology, the new species of jumping spider, Pseudomogrus sudhii, has been named after him.

A combined investigation by Dmitri Logunov (curator, Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, UK), Rishikesh Balkrishna Tripathi, and Ashish Kumar Jangid of the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, led to the discovery of the jumping spider.

The desert’s dry grass blades are home to this species. It is the first record of this genus in India. There are now 35 species of spiders in this genus known to exist.

The British Arachnological Society’s worldwide scientific publication, Arachnology, has published the discovery of this new species from the Thar desert.

Also Read: Rare carnivorous plant species found in Uttarkhand for first time

The spider is just 4 mm long. Males have black eye regions and dark brown heads that are covered in tiny white hairs. The pale-yellow abdomen is divided by a black mid-longitudinal stripe. The female’s eyes are black, and its head is yellow. According to the description provided in the scientific publication, its light-yellow abdomen has white markings on it.

The spider is named after Dr Sudhikumar in honour of his contributions to Indian arachnology. In several foreign and domestic publications, he has produced more than 200 research articles on the variety of Indian spiders. He is the author of Keralathile Chilanthikal published by the Kerala Bhasha Institute.

CATE researchers have so far uncovered 35 new species of spiders from various regions of Kerala under his direction. He is the head of a number of studies that the federal and state governments have jointly supported.


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