Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A new whip spider: Charinus taboa

Image from original publication
The chelicerate arthropods of the order Amblypygi are known as whip spiders or tailless whip scorpions. They are harmless animals with no silk glands or venomous fangs. They can bite if threatened, but more likely grab a finger with their pedipalps, resulting in little thorn-like injuries.

Some species can grow to a legspan of 70 cm. They have eight legs, but only six are used for walking, often in a crab-like, sideways fashion. The front leg pair was modified for use as antennae-like feelers, with many fine segments giving the appearance of a whip, hence their name.

The new species was found in caves in Brazil and was named after one of them (Taboa).

For the experts: Charinus taboa sp. n. comprises the twenty-second species of the genus described for Brazil. The new species belongs to the eastern Brazilian group, in which all species have sucker-like gonopods. Charinus taboa sp. n. has a marked sexual dimorphism in the pedipalps as do other members of the genus in the country. The description of Charinus taboa sp. n. offers an opportunity to discuss some aspects of ecology, troglomorphism and conservation within the genus. A key to the eastern Brazilian species of Charinus is provided.

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