Super-sized trapdoor spider discovered in Australia

Researchers in Australia have made a big discovery: a super-sized species of trapdoor spider found only in Central Queensland.

The arachnid has been dubbed Euoplos dignitas, a name “derived from the Latin dignitas meaning dignity or greatness, reflecting the impressive size and nature of the spider,” scientists with the Queensland Museum said in a statement.

The male Euoplos dignitas.
The male Euoplos dignitas.Queensland Museum

The spider lives in open woodland habitats and builds its burrows in the black soils of the Brigalow Belt in Central Queensland, which is on the northeastern coast of Australia.

The species has lost much of its habitat to land clearing, which likely makes it an endangered species, the scientists said.

While the Australian team did not detail how big their find is, Trapdoor spiders typically have bodies up to 1.5 inches long that nest underground, according to National Geographic. They are hairy tropical spiders, and their bites can cause pain and swelling in humans.

According to Britannica, the spiders construct burrows in the ground and build silken-hinged doors. The spiders then feed by quickly opening the trap door and grabbing unsuspecting insects that pass by.

In a video posted to announce the Australian discovery of the giant creepy crawler, Michael Rix, principal curator of arachnology with the Queensland Museum Network, said the experts were excited to “scientifically document this new species.”

The Female Euoplos dignitas.
The Female Euoplos dignitas.Queensland Museum

Dr. Jeremy Wilson, research assistant in arachnology with the Queensland Museum Network, said in the video, the research is exciting because “you just never know what you’re going to find.”

Wilson said naming the new species has real-life positive ramifications for it because a known species means “it can be protected.”