A group of Thai researchers discovered a new species of tarantula with a distinctive electric blue color.
About the species: The tarantula, named Chilobrachys natanicharum, is one of the world’s rarest, according to its discoverers.
Lead author Dr. Narin Chomphuphuang, an entomologist, said the spider’s color does not come from blue pigments, but its hair, which incorporates “nanostructures that manipulate light to create this striking blue appearance.”
How they discovered it: After discovering another tarantula that resided in bamboo stalks, the researchers, along with wildlife YouTuber JoCho Sippawat, embarked on an expedition to Phang-Nga province in southern Thailand. As they set out to learn more about tarantula diversity and distribution, they found C. natanicharum inhabiting hollow trees in a mangrove forest.
The tarantulas are difficult to catch, requiring the researchers to “climb a tree and lure it out of a complex of hollows amid humid and slippery conditions,” Chomphuphuang said. They managed to collect just two while working at night during low tide.
Chomphuphuang said the spider previously appeared at the commercial tarantula market, where it was known as “Chilobrachys sp. Electric Blue Tarantula.” However, there had been no documentation detailing its unique features and natural habitat.
How it was named: The researchers organized an auction to name their discovery. The winner was Nichada Properties Co., which suggested to combine the names of its executives, Natakorn Changrew and Nichada Changrew.
Proceeds from the auction were reportedly donated to support the education of children from the Lahu, an indigenous hill tribe living in northern Thailand, as well as poor cancer patients.
The latest discovery was published in the journal ZooKeys.