Entomologists in Thailand have been amazed by an electrifying new species of tarantula found in the southern part of the country.
The spider, known as Chilobrachys natanicharum, has a “blue-violet hue reminiscent of the color of electric sparks,” scientists from the Khon Kaen University Museum of Entomology and the National Science Museum’s Museum of Natural History said in a paper announcing the find. They called the rare color of the tarantula a “fascinating phenomenon”.
“The blue coloring of animals is a fascinating and relatively rare phenomenon in nature,” the researchers said. “The blue color in tarantulas is a unique example of structural colors that have evolved independently at least eight times.”
The name of the new species was chosen in a nationwide auction. The creature is named after the executives of Nicchada Properties Co. Ltd., a real estate company.
The photos show that the spider has blue-purple hairs on its legs and body. The coloration of the legs is “unique” and “iridescent,” the researchers said. Female spiders and young males of the species have “more purple than metallic blue hairs”, while the bright blue color is more pronounced on male spiders. However, it is “less intense than in women”.
Scientists said the spider appears to live in the mangrove forests of southern Thailand. Arachnids live in tree hollows there. Spiders can also live in evergreen forests. However, habitat destruction and tarantula hunting have affected the species: All tarantulas in Thailand are considered controlled wildlife in the country, and researchers emphasize the need to conserve and protect the species and their habitat.