Brazilian daddy longlegs spider is named after Smeagol, the Lord of the Rings character, because of its unique features. The newly discovered species of arachnid has been named Iandumoema smeagol because of its characteristics, which are reminiscent of Tolkien’s character from the Lord of the Rings books.
- A new species of daddy longlegs has been discovered in a cave in Brasil.
- The arachnid has been named Smeagol, after Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings character.
- The spider only lives underground and is pale and blind because it spends its life in complete darkness, which promted scientist to give it the unfortunate name.
The Brazilian spider lives in complete darkness deep inside caves and lurks near underground streams running down wet cave walls in order to feed on invertebrates. Unlike other arachnids it never leaves its home deep beneath the ground and has adapted to living in complete darkness.
But because it never leaves its cave it has undergone some transformations that may have prompted the scientists that discovered it to call it Smeagol. It has devolved into losing its sight and is the only species of harvestman or daddy longlegs to be completely blind. This process of losing sight occurs to many creatures that adapt to living in complete darkness.
Because it never or almost never leaves it cave, the arachnid has also experienced another mutation that cave-dwelling creatures undergo. Because it never goes outside the cave it has lost most of its melanin, which is substance that creatures living under sunlight need in order to protect themselves from the exposure to the sun’s rays. This loss of melanin has made the creature has a pale, yellow appearance.
The species also seems to be very rare, partly because of the living conditions it needs in order to survive. As it cannot above the ground, on the surface, because it cannot tolerate being exposed to the sun, the creature cannot travel from one cave to another or change its location. This does not only mean that it must stay in its original habitat but also that the species is not very widely spread.
Because of its isolation it has developed several unique features, making it the most modified species in its genus and can only be found in certain caves in a specific area of the country. Researchers first discovered the arachnid in a cave within the Minas Gerais state of Brazil.
But the fact that it cannot travel to new habitats also means that it could be in danger because of human activity. The limestone caves that the species inhabits are often locations for mining exploitation which could threaten the creature’s habitats. Hydroelectric dams that are built on the streams that supply the caves with water could also threaten the arachnid’s food source.
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