Trogloraptor marchingtoni (Male) from M2 Cave, Oregon. Credit: Griswold, Charles; Audisio, Tracy; Ledford, Joel
The Trogloraptor has specialized elongated claws for presumably hunting its as yet unknown prey. And possibly making it especially adept at climbing cave walls. Credit Griswold, Charles; Audisio, Tracy; Ledford, Joel

A team of cave conservationists and scientists discovered these spiders recently that later turned out to be a completely new species. The findings were made in the Redwood forests of Oregon, United States.

Entomologists at the California Academy of Sciences says that this new spider species has such unique evolutionary features that it not only represents a new genus and a new species but an entirely new family of spiders.

Finding a new unknown animal family is unusual, even for diverse insects and arachnids, according to the researcher’s report published in the newspaper ZooKeys. In fact, this is the first new family of spiders to be found in North America since the 1890s. But the scientists believe that there could be an unknown species hidden in forests and caves around the U.S.

Credit: Griswold, Charles; Audisio, Tracy; Ledford, Joel

The spider is large and measures up to 7,5 centimeters (3 inches) across with its legs outstretched. Professor Charles Griswold, curator of arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences who helped to identify the new spider said; “For a spider, this is a pretty big one. In the torchlight, it can look even bigger. It has remarkable claws and feet which are like scythes or hooks. We think these work to snap and trap their prey”.

It is thought that the new family of spider has evolved separately, isolated within the caves. And so it has also been given its own family name within the Arachnid class of animals – naming it Trogloraptor due to its large claws.