Tech & Science Meet Maratus sapphirus, a new species of spider in Australia

15:10  13 september  2017
15:10  13 september  2017 Source:   MSN

In Nicaragua, a fight to save endangered tapirs

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New species of spider named after the Sapphire Coast. The spider which on Wednesday was named Maratus sapphirus was sent to Dr Jurgen Otto, a peacock spider expert who confirmed Mr Harris' suspicions.

New species of spider named after the Sapphire Coast. Maratus sapphirus was found in the Sapphire Coast of NSW. Photo: Stuart Harris. View More Local Business. List Your Business Here. Canberra's spider man, Stuart Harris has found himself in the middle of yet another new spider

Maratus sapphirus was found in the Sapphire Coast of NSW.© Stuart Harris Maratus sapphirus was found in the Sapphire Coast of NSW.

Canberra's spider man, Stuart Harris has found himself in the middle of yet another new spider species discovery, this time on the NSW South Coast.

Mr Harris led a group on a BioBlitz expedition in the Murrah Flora Reserve late last year to teach a group who were interested in finding spiders.

Citizen scientist, Helen Ranson who was part of the group was looking through a leaf litter when she spotted a spider.

"She said to me 'oh Stuart, what's this?' and I looked at it and was like 'oh no, that's a new species', I just knew straight away," Mr Harris said.

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"We were all over the moon jumping around, you can imagine how they felt.

"They just went out for a day in the bush to maybe find some pretty spiders and then they found a new species."

Stuart Harris, Julie Morgan, Helen Ransom and Diane Deans while on the BioBlitz expedition.© Stuart Harris Stuart Harris, Julie Morgan, Helen Ransom and Diane Deans while on the BioBlitz expedition. The spider which on Wednesday was named Maratus sapphirus was sent to Dr Jurgen Otto, a peacock spider expert who confirmed Mr Harris' suspicions.

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Meet 2014's new species , from the tiniest elephant shrew to an entire colony of pterodactyls. The maratus pardus, a new species of peacock spider , was identified in Western Australia .

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Mr Harris said the name Maratus sapphirus came from his suggestion of sapphire.

"Maratus which means peacock spider is the name that's given to any spider in that genus [type]," he said.

"Because it was found on the Sapphire coast - the South Coast of NSW, I suggested the name be something to do with sapphire, also because of its colour."

Mr Harris said the chances of finding a new species as a citizen scientist was slim, saying the find was "significant" not only for the finders but to experts.

In the last nine years, experts have seen a large increase in the number of Maratus species, with many resulting from discoveries by citizen scientists, photographers or other members of the public.

There are currently 63 species.

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Dumped pet goldfish are found in Australian estuaries, prompting fears the fish — which are highly adaptive and can grow to 2 kilograms — could make their way into connected river systems and kill off native species. Last year, scientists from the same university discovered giant, football-sized goldfish weighing more than two kilograms stalking the waterways.Now new research has revealed the invasive species are living in salt water, which means they can travel between river systems and colonise more ecosystems.

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