A new species of eight-eyed tarantula with the attitude of “Satan” and a “cryptic” 3-foot snake that lurks in swamps have recently been discovered — and they are the stuff of nightmares.
Scientists discovered the freakish hairy spider in the mountains of central and western Ecuador while hunting for new species of tree spiders in 2021, according to a study published this week in ZooKey.
Officially named Psalmopoeus satanas, or Satan tarantula, for its notably “bad temperament,” the spider was located under a bamboo tree but refused to be taken captive without a fight.
The arachnid unsuccessfully attempted to fend off the researchers and tried to flee with “quick sporadic movements, nearly too fast to see,” according to the study.
When they brought the critter back to the lab, scientists discovered unique physical features and determined it was a whole new species altogether.
The dark-brown Satan tarantula is just under 2 inches in length with eight eyes and eight legs coated with “golden” hairs, according to the study.
Scientists at Universidad San Francisco de Quito “grew very fond” of the specimen while they studied it despite its “bad temperament and sporadic attacks.”
“Psalmopoeus satanas is appropriately named because the initial individual that was collected had an attitude!” the study’s lead co-author Pedro Penaherrera-R. told McClatchy News via email.
Species of the Psalmopoeus genus are venomous.
The spiders are considered to be “critically endangered”. This is due to threats that their ecosystem faces such as the illegal mining industry and the agriculture industries. It lives in the Andes mountains between 2,800 feet and about 3,100 feet, researchers said.
Half a world away in the mangrove swamps of central Myanmar, a new snake was also recently discovered slithering in the darkness.
The green snakes were first misidentified as a known species of pit vipers in 2000, however, a later DNA analysis of the “cryptic” creatures revealed that the animals belonged to a “distinct species,” according to another study published this week in ZooKey.
Researchers studied 19 specimens and determined that the snake was its own unique species: Trimeresurus ayeyarwadyensis, or the Ayeyarwady pit viper — named for a local river.
Ayeyarwady pit vipers can grow more than 3 feet long. Researchers said that they are white and light green on the belly, with deep-red or golden eyes.
Like all vipers, they are venomous.
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