Woman discovers new species of spider in her backyard

‘What is THIS!?’ New species of spider that shoots out venom and has eight eyes is found in an Australian backyard

  • Amanda De George discovered the new jumping spider at her NSW home in June
  • A leading spider expert asked her to capture the creature and send it to him
  • It was confirmed the spider was unknown and will now be examined and named
  • Jumping spiders aren’t harmful to humans and Ms De George’s was 4mm long 

A nature lover has discovered a mysterious new species of spider after spotting it walking across her recycling bin in her backyard.

Amanda De George spotted the eight-eyed creature at her home in Thirroul, south of Sydney, 18 months ago – but it wasn’t until June when it reappeared she managed to snap a photo.

She shared pictures of the tiny 4mm long arachnid to a spider identification Facebook page with the caption ‘What is this?’. 

The creature’s striking blue face attracted the attention of a leading spider expert in Melbourne, who confirmed the species was unknown and asked her to capture it and send it to him for examination.

Amanda De George discovered a new species of spider in her backyard at her home in Thirroul, south of Sydney

The wildlife enthusiast first spotted the creature 18 months ago but saw it again in June and took some photos

‘I thought it was incredibly beautiful with its bright blue face and eyes but didn’t realise how special it was,’ Ms De George told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘By the time I was told it was a species new to science it was long gone. It took me three-and-a-half months of full on searching to find another specimen. So that was the hard part! The capturing was easy!’ 

She eventually captured two of the creatures and put them inside containers filled with tissues to ship down to Joseph Schubert, a Museums Victoria taxonomist who specialises in jumping spiders. 

Ms De George said learning she had discovered the new species was a real ‘bucket list moment’. 

‘Honestly it is so exciting! It feels so nice to be able to contribute something to science,’ she said.

‘I’m just an amateur nature lover and could never have imagined that this is something I would or even could do.’   

The spider is apart of the genus group Jotus, which includes other jumping spiders commonly found in Australia and New Zealand.  

The mysterious spider was only around 4mm long and is harmless to humans 

Ms De George spent almost four months looking for the spider again so she could send it down to a leading expert in Melbourne for to examine it

Mr Schubert and two other scientists have identified five of the other 14 named Jotus spiders already discovered.

Ms De George’s spider will be given a Latin scientific name after it is examined by Mr Schubert when museums reopen after lockdown.

He is holding the two spiders at his locked-down Melbourne home. 

‘The naming is totally up to Joseph who does all the hard work, but who wouldn’t want a spider named after them?’ Ms De George laughed. 

About 4,000 spiders have scientific names in Australia, but experts believe up to 10,000 more species exist. 

‘But as you can tell from Amanda, you could very easily find a new species in just your backyard, which is pretty cool,’ Mr Schubert told The Age.

Ms De George, who is a qualified zookeeper, has her own Facebook page Backyard Zoology where she shares photos of wildlife around her home.

Jumping spiders are harmless to humans but inject venom when attacking their prey.

They also have bushy front legs that they use to perform a dance like movement to attract mates. 

Last year a new Jotus spider was discovered and named after the late fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld.

The spider was named jotus karllagerfeldi due to its white and black appearance similar to the suit and dark sunglasses Mr Lagerfeld often wore. 

The spider is apart of the Jotus genus group which includes other jumping spiders

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