37 New Spider Species discovered in Cooloola area

The spiders were discovered during a major stocktake of flora and fauna in the national park surrounding Rainbow Beach in August.

Cooloola Coast BioBlitz organiser John Sinclair said more than 80 scientists and volunteers had spent the weekend shaking trees and sifting through leaves, collecting everything that wriggled or moved.

“It was a great example of citizen science where people who had no expertise were helping people who were experts,” he said.

“Robert would go out with a group of amateurs who were just keen to learn about spiders as much as they could, and they helped him collect the specimen.

“As you start learning more about spiders, you find any sense of arachnophobia just disappears because it becomes so fascinating.”

“We’ve just got so many different types of habitats, from rainforest to mangroves to big dune fields, and it makes an excellent area for study.

“It’s already on the tentative World Heritage List and we’re hoping it can elevate its priority so finally Cooloola can be properly recognised.”

Plans are underway for another BioBlitz on the Cooloola Coast in May.

“The 37 new species is just a fraction of the ones that were there,” Dr Sinclair said.

“There’s many more waiting to be discovered. We’re hoping to add to that list when we do the next BioBlitz in May.”

Dr Sinclair hopes the new discoveries will help get the Cooloola Coast added to the World Heritage List.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/

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