Seshachalam hills, home to a variety of plants and animals, reptiles and amphibians, have proved again to be rich in biodiversity, with the recent sighting of a rare poisonous spider after a gap of 113 years in India at the foothills of Tirumala.
The spider belonging to the genus poecilotheria is known to be native to India and Sri Lanka, of which eight species are found in India and seven in Sri Lanka. While taking inventory of the Seshachalam Biosphere reserve spread across Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh, officials of the Seshachalam Biodiversity Lab attached to Tirupati Wildlife Management Circle sighted a dead specimen of Theraphosid spider, a variety listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as ‘critically endangered.’
Very little published information is available on the species’ ecology and distribution. It was way back in the year 1899 that the spider was first sighted near Gooty (in the present Anantapur district) by a researcher Pocock and reported last. Though it was sighted after 102 years in the Eastern Ghats between Nandyal and Giddalur towns, it has not been recorded officially, making the Tirupati discovery the first in 113 years.
The specimen poecilotheria metallica has coloured carapace and abdomen much as in the other species of the genus poecilotheria, but dark bands on the carapace are found to have higher mesial separation.
Source:The Hindu,20 April 2013