Spider Rich Kerala
Come Kerala spider researchers and spider lovers, here await you 400 species of spiders. 400 is an amazing figure out of 1466 species of spiders so far reported from all over India.
Kerala seems to be a favourite place for spiders, going by the latest findings of arachnologist. The researchers of the division of arachnology of Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi have identified 400 species of spiders, including 35 new to science from different parts of Western Ghats in Kerala, notably from Vagamon, Agasthyamala, Thenmala, Aryankavu, Thattekkad, Munnar, Parambikulam, Wayanad and from Mangalavanam in the heart of Kochi. The research findings also include the documentation of nine species of primitive spiders, including tiger spiders.
A rare one, Araneus Himalayensis, reported only in the Himalayas, was found in Mannavan Shola, near Kanthaloor.
The findings have been documented by the division of arachnology.
The studies conducted in the Vagamon grasslands reported 44 rare species of spiders. Cryptotheless Sundaica, a cryptic spider species, was re-discovered after a gap of 100 years from the Nilambur forests.
Primitive spiders (Mygalomorph), including tiger spiders (Tarantulas), which are larger in size, have been documented for the first time since they were first reported in 1870s by British biologists.
Even Mangalavanam, the eco-sensitive and threatened mangrove forests located in the heart of Kochi, reported 51 species of spiders belonging to 40 genera and 16 families, of which three are new to science.
The division of arachnology in Sacred Heart College is the only centre in South India comprising Kerala, Pondichery, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh engaged in arachnology research and has been actively engaged in spider research for last eight years. The division is coming up with an authentic book containing all the information about spiders, with colour photographs and illustrations. Such comprehensive book on Indian spiders is a long felt need and more useful to the academic circles, arachnologists, students and nature lovers world over. The book titled ‘Spiders of India’ and edited by P A Sebastian, the head of arachnology division of Sacred Heart College and K V Peter, the former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala Agricultural University contains an overall description of Indian spiders. Arachnologist Jean Pierre Maelfait has written the forward to the book. A checklist of 1466 species of spiders so far reported from India, together with their references, is a unique feature of the book.