New South Wales (NSW) resident Amanda De George was in for a surprise when she accidently discovered a new spider species after she spotted the arachnid in her backyard. Amanda, who is a zookeeper and a scientist spotted the eight-legged critter at her home in Thirroul, NSW, Australia almost 18-months ago. However, it was not until June when it reappeared, she managed to take a photo of the spider and shared it online for identification.
“It was the electric-blue face and bright blue eyes that drew her to the four-millimetre-long jumping spider, but didn’t realise how special it was,” Amanda told Sydney Morning Herald.
Amanda posted the pictures of the four-millimetre-long tiny critter on a spider identification Facebook page. She captioned the post stating, “What is this?”
Interestingly, the creature’s blue face attracted the attention of a leading spider expert based in Melbourne, Australia. The expert confirmed the species was unknown and asked her to capture the spider and send it across for further examination.
De George was stunned to know that it was a previously unknown species. It took her three and a half months of constant search, looking under garden leaves and furniture to find and capture one in a snack container. She got lucky two days later when she found another one on her car dashboard. She carefully put them inside containers filled with tissue paper to ship them to Joseph Schubert, a Museums Victoria taxonomist who specialises in jumping spiders.
The spider species was identified as a part of genus group ‘Jotus’ which includes other species of jumping spiders found in Australia and New Zealand. It will be given a Latin scientific name after Schubert examines it as soon as the museums reopen post lockdown.
Amanda said learning she had discovered the new species was a real ‘bucket list moment,’ and she is very kicked about the prospect of it could be named after her.