The world’s oldest recorded spider has passed away at the remarkable age of 43 after spending a quiet life underground in Western Australia.
The Giaus Villosus trapdoor matriarch was part of a long-term population study by scientists from Curtin University in order to better understand the impressive life expectancy of trapdoor spiders.
Known only as Number 16 it’s believed she did not die of old age but instead sadly passed away due to a wasp sting.
“To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behaviour and population dynamics,” said lead author PhD student Leanda Mason.
Number 16 outlived the previous record-holder, a 28-year-old tarantula found in Mexico, by some considerable margin.
The population study was started in 1974 by Barbara York Main and was designed to help scientists learn about how spiders can survive in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia for so long.
“Through Barbara’s detailed research, we were able to determine that the extensive life span of the trapdoor spider is due to their life-history traits, including how they live in uncleared, native bushland, their sedentary nature and low metabolisms.” explains Ms Mason.
Co-author, Associate Professor Grant Wardell-Johnson explains how Number 16′s behavioural characteristics helped it thrive in the Australian outback.
“These spiders exemplify an approach to life in ancient landscapes, and through our ongoing research we will be able to determine how the future stresses of climate change and deforestation will potentially impact the species,” Associate Professor Wardell-Johnson said.