The Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider, a new species. The Sierra Cacachilas spider, a new species. San Diego Natural History Museum

New spider discovered in Baja California

The Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider measures 10 centimeters in length

Not everyone loves spiders but those who do will be happy to hear of a new one, and a big one at that.

Researchers have identified a new species of spider after a specimen was discovered in a cave in the Cacachilas mountains of Baja California in 2013.

Not only is the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider a large insect at 10 centimeters long, but it boasts a pair of impressive fangs.

Although Califorctenus cacachilensis is related to the “notoriously venomous” Brazilian wandering spider, said researchers at the San Diego Natural History Museum, its bite is not fatal.

“I got bit while handling a live specimen . . . and I’m still alive,” said Jim Berrian, a field entomologist at the museum and one of the experts who discovered the new species. “We haven’t analyzed the toxicity of the venom, but most wandering spiders are not as dangerous as the Brazilian wandering spider.”

He said almost all spiders are venomous but very few are dangerous to humans.

Berrian and his colleagues found the cave-dwelling spider during an expedition in the Sierra Cacachilas. They were impressed with its size.

“When I saw these spiders for the first time, I was very impressed by their size,” said María Luisa Jímenez, an expert on the spiders of Baja California. “In all my experience over the years collecting spiders on the peninsula, I had never seen a spider this large. I suspected that something new was waiting to be described.”

After four years of documentation and peer review, the species and genus was described after being deemed new to science and published last month in the scientific journal Zootaxa.

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