Joshua Tree National Park Boasts Three Previously Unknown Species Of Trapdoor Spiders, One Named After Bono

Three species of trapdoor spider previously unknown to science have been found in Joshua Tree National Park. NPS handout.

Three previously unknown species of trapdoor spiders have been discovered in Joshua Tree National Park, and scientists have named one after Bono of the rock band U2 in honor or their Joshua Tree album.

The three were among 33 previously unknown species of the California trapdoor spider that were discussed in a recent edition of the journal Zookeys. The three spotted in Joshua Tree were Aptostichus chemehuevi and A. serrano, named for California Native American groups, and A. bonoi, named for Bono. Two of these, A. chemehuevi and A. bonoi, are rare and their protection is critical, according to lead investigator Jason Bond, professor and director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History.

Prior to this publication, only seven species of from this group were described worldwide.

Trapdoor spiders are unique from other spiders because they construct burrows with a trapdoor made from bits of vegetation, sand, soil, and silk, items used to “hinge” the door to the burrow.

According to Joshua Tree officials, trapdoor spiders are active during the night. They hunt by sensing vibrations on the ground. When prey is close, they quickly leap out of their burrows to seize their meal. Upon catching its prey, the trapdoor spider will bite and inject it with venom.

The male trapdoor spider will wander around during fall to look for females. The females will feed their spiderlings (numbering in the hundreds from some species) regurgitated food until they are large enough to leave the burrow and fend for their own.

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