In Queensland, a newly discovered species of trapdoor spider has been identified by Australian researchers. Euoplos dignitas, a type of golden trapdoor spider, is a larger-than-average species that can grow up to 5cm long for females and 3cm for males. The female spiders of this rare species can live for over 20 years in the wild. Unfortunately, much of their habitat has been destroyed due to land clearing, putting them at risk of becoming an endangered species.
Trapdoor spiders create "trap doors" made from leaves to capture insects for prey. Typically, trapdoor spiders measure around 1.5cm to 3cm. Euoplos dignitas, however, is an exception to this size range, with a name meaning "diversity" or "greatness" in Latin to reflect its impressive size and nature.
Found in the Brigalow Belt, a central Queensland region characterized by semi-arid woodlands, Euoplos dignitas is not dangerous to humans. Females have a red-brown carapace, while males have a honey-red outer layer and grey-brown abdomens. These spiders build their burrows in black soil and live in open woodland habitats.
Males leave their burrows after five to seven years to search for a mate. Very few specimens of this species have been collected since the 1960s, with only one female submitted to the Queensland Museum. During a recent three-day search in May 2021, only one population was found along several hundred meters of a roadside verge, with most of the available habitat cleared for agriculture and stock.
As a result, the continuing decline of these habitats could cause the species to become critically endangered in the future. It's worth noting that the goliath bird eater is the largest spider in the world, measuring about 13cm in body length and 30cm in leg span, larger than a dinner plate.