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Scientists stunned by rare tarantulas with 'enchanting phenomenon'

Blue colorations are rarely found in nature because they’re a result of a certain arrangement of biological photonic nanostructures.
Scientists stunned by rare tarantulas with 'enchanting phenomenon'
Posted at 11:03 AM, Sep 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-20 13:03:08-04

Scientists have discovered a new species of tarantula on the southwestern coast of Thailand that features an “enchanting phenomenon.”

The spiders, formally named Chilobrachys natanicharum, have a blue-violet hue that scientists said resembles “electrical sparks.” 

Blue colorations are rarely found in nature because they’re a result of a certain arrangement of biological photonic nanostructures rather than pigments, the researchers explained in a scientific article on ZooKeys. In other words, it's something unique that happens in different species over time.

The discovery was made in a mangrove forest in the Phang-Nga province of the country.

The fascinating arachnids were spotted inside the hollow of a tree. It’s the first time the species has been observed in their natural habitat, researchers said.  

Previously they were only seen in commercial tarantula trade markets. The scientists pointed out destruction of natural habitats and hunting of tarantulas have had a “devastating impact” on populations in Thailand. 

Male specimens collected by the researchers ranged in size from about 1.51 inches to 2.19 inches long, while the females collected were about 2.24 inches and 2.66 inches, the study said. 

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The upper portions of their legs are covered with dark hair, while the lower portions are violet and metallic blue.

The spiders were studied in the Entomology Museum at Khon Kaen University in Khon Kaen, Thailand, and the Natural History Museum of the National Science Museum in Pathum Thani, Thailand. 


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