Two Amazingly Tiny Spider Species Found in China

May 28, 2013 by

A team of arachnologists from the Sichuan University and the Institute of Zoology in Beijing has discovered two new species in the spider genera Mysmena and Trogloneta.

Mysmena wawuensis, female (Lin Y / Li S)

Mysmena wawuensis, female (Lin Y / Li S)

The scientists have named the tiny new spiders Trogloneta yuensis and Mysmena wawuensis. Their description appears online in the journal ZooKeys.

They are both less than 2 mm in length, with Trogloneta yuensis being as little as 1.01 mm and Mysmena wawuensis measured to be the even tinier 0.75 mm, which classes it among the smallest spiders known. They have a bizarre body shape with disproportionately big spherical posterior body.

The family Mysmenidae to which the two new species belong is one of the least studied groups among orb-weaving spiders.

Trogloneta yuensis, male (Lin Y / Li S)

Trogloneta yuensis, male (Lin Y / Li S)

Trogloneta yuensis and Mysmena wawuensis are considered endemic to their type localities in the Sichuan and Chongqing provinces of China.

The spiders live in moist leaf litter, and their obscure places such as moss and even caves and they prefer very humid habitats.

The region of Wawu Mt. National Forest Park, where Mysmena wawuensis was discovered is also remarkable for holding a small population of wild giant panda of about 10 individuals.


Bibliographic information: Lin Y, Li S. 2013. Two new species of the genera Mysmena and Trogloneta (Mysmenidae, Araneae) from Southwestern China. ZooKeys 303: 33–51; doi: 10.3897/zookeys.303.4808