New spider species found in Indonesia

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The discovery of four new species of spider in Kalimantan was announced recently, adding to Indonesia's already rich catalog of fauna, local media reported on Friday.

The findings, by Cahyo Rahmadi, a zoology researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), and two colleagues, Mark S. Harvey, from the Western Australian Museum, and Jun-ichi Kojima, from Japan's Ibaraki University, were published in Zootaxa, a taxonomy journal.

The four new species of whip spiders, or tailless whip scorpions, known here as kala cemeti, were found in the Sangkulirang caves in East Kalimantan and around Mount Muller in Central Kalimantan. One of the species was named Sarax yayukae, in honor of Yayuk R. Suhardjono, an Indonesian scientist specializing in cave biology who helped the researchers during their work.

Sarax sangkulirangensis was found to be the most widespread of the new species, existing in three regions -- Talabar, Lake Tebo and Pengadan.

Sarax mardua, which was found in Mardua Cave in Pengadan, has a pale-colored body and eyes that are smaller than those of Sarax sangkulirangensis.

The last of the new species, Sarax cavernicola, got its name because it is found only in caves.

It is considered the most unique of the new species because the spine composition on its pincers are all the same length, while other whip spiders have gradually longer spines.

Cahyo warned on Thursday that three of the species endemic to the limestone regions of Sangkulirang were threatened by human activity, including mining and land redevelopment.

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