This handout image by the Natural History Museum of Bern shows a female Guriurius Minuano, the 50,000th spider registered in the World Spider Catalog based at the Natural History Museum of Bern. Photograph:( AFP )
Scientists believe the rate of discovery of different species of spiders is steadily increasing and it could take less than 100 years to discover the same number again
The World Spider Catalog (WSC) has announced that 50,000 known different species of spider crawling the Earth. It is based at the Natural History Museum of Bern in the Swiss capital.
The WSC's publishers said, "We estimate that there are still approximately 50,000 more spider species out there to discover."
"Spiders are the most important predators in Earth's terrestrial habitats, and their ecological significance should not be underestimated," the museum said.
"Consuming some 400 to 800 million tonnes of insects every year, they are the most important regulators of insect populations. Accordingly, they are also of fundamental importance to humans," it added.
Guriurius minuano was registered as the 50,000th species of spider known across the world. It belongs to the Salticidae family of jumping spiders and hunts its prey on shrubs and trees.
It is found in southern Brazil, Uruguay, and around Buenos Aires. Arachnologist Kimberly S. Marta said it is named after the now-extinct Minuane people who lived in the area.
“We see natural ebbs and flows in the populations of many different species that may be linked to local conditions, particularly slight changes in rainfall,” said Paula Cushing, an arachnologist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Researchers say a large spider native to East Asia that proliferated in Georgia last year could spread to much of the East Coast in the United States.
The Joro spider was also spotted in South Carolina, and entomologists expected it to spread throughout the Southeast.
It appears better suited to colder temperatures than a related species and has about double the metabolism, a 77 per cent higher heart rate. It can survive a brief freeze that kills off its relatives.
Also known as Trichonephila clavata, it is part of a group of spiders known as orb weavers for their highly organized, wheel-shaped webs.
Scientists gave the first scientific description of a spider in 1757. It took them 265 years to find 50,000.
They believe the rate of discovery of different species of spiders is steadily increasing and it could take less than 100 years to discover the same number again.
(With inputs from agencies)