A popular YouTube personality in Thailand has discovered a new tarantula species.
JoCho Sippawat, who has nearly 2.5 million subscribers on his nature-themed YouTube channel, noticed something peculiar about a spider he found while in a forest in Tak Province back in 2020, reported New Scientist.
Sippawat, who first spotted the black-and-white arachnid in Asian bamboo stalks, sent an image of the specimen to Khon Kaen University arachnologist Narin Chomphuphuang. In July that year, the scientist led a team of researchers to survey the spider’s habitat and to collect more specimens.
The findings, published in the journal ZooKeys, revealed that the spider lives exclusively inside Asian bamboo stalks. The research team confirmed the spider belongs to an entirely new tarantula species for its unusual habitat and behavior. It has even been declared as a new genus within the Ornithoctoninae subfamily of tarantulas found in Southeast Asia. Researchers named the newly discovered tarantula “Taksinus bambus,” after the 18th century Thai King Taksin the Great.
Chomphuphuang first shared the results of the study last week in a blog post, highlighting the tarantula’s distinct traits.
According to Chomphuphuang, the newly discovered species are “the first known tarantulas ever with a bamboo-based ecology,” as they live in hollowed bamboo stalks.
While the Taksinus bambus is unable to create holes in the stalks by itself, it is able to build a nest by depending on other bamboo-boring animals.
Over 1,000 different species of tarantulas have been identified so far. The ones living in Southeast Asia mostly inhabit trees or live on the ground.
“This species is unique because it is associated with bamboo, and we have never observed this tarantula species in any other plant,” added Chomphuphuang. “It is not an exaggeration to say that they are now Thailand’s rarest tarantulas.”