A few months ago, we had the honor to receive the visit of Dr. Bernhard A. Huber; from the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig. Then and now we agree with Dr. Huber; ” there is still so much to discover at the Royal Palm Galapagos…” In the last visit to our property, Dr Huber found a new type of Spider inside of our Lava Tunnel. This new breed of arachnids profoundly intrigued him, and he took samples to study back in the Lab.
“The spider is fascinating in several respects,” he has confirmed in the last communication we had received. First, it is highly adapted to cave-life, which is most apparent by the total absence of eyes, but also by the pale coloration and the longer than usual legs. Second, it is an extremely small species. In fact, it is the smallest known representative of the spider family Pholcidae that currently contains some 1,700 described species. With a body length of 0.75 mm, it is close to the minimum for spiders. And third, it is a new species, i.e., new to science, or not yet scientifically described. It is a representative of the New World genus Metagonia that currently includes some 85 described species, two of them on Galapagos. Its name should thus be “Metagonia sp.n.”, but I hope to describe it next year (taxonomy moves slowly), and then it will have a complete name.
Unfortunately, Dr. Huber cannot tell us much about its biology. As usual, with little organic matter, its abundance in the caves seems to be very low. We found almost no other life in the cave, i.e., prey for these spiders appears to be extremely scarce too; this may be, in part, explain the low abundance. However, spiders, in general, are known to survive for a long time without food, and this is particularly true for cave spiders.
Caves are usually a very stable environment, and cave animals are adapted to that. From a conservationist point of view, it is thus most important to avoid changing this environment as much as possible; this means mainly avoiding light (except for short periods) and the introduction of organic matter. Both will attract organisms that do not belong in the cave, and that may displace the cave animals that are not adapted to these invaders.
If you genuinely enjoy discovering the wonders of nature, you must visit The Royal Palm Galapagos, part of the living laboratory of evolution. Many of the species of plants and animals, both on land and underwater, are like none others found on Earth. Come and Look at life differently.
Finally, don’t forget to visit The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig website https://www.zfmk.de/en
More Space, More Privacy, and so much More Nature, only at the Royal Palm Galapagos.