Attention arachnophobes! Brace yourself for a new species of trapdoor spider that has just been discovered in the Brigalow Belt region of Central Queensland. Scientists at the Queensland Museum have identified this new species and named it Euoplos Dignitas. The spider, known for its impressive size, has only been spotted in a few locations around Eidsvold and Monto in Central Queensland. Unfortunately, due to land clearing, it is likely to be an endangered species.
The Queensland Museum’s Principal Scientist and Curator of Arachnology, Dr Michael Rix, explains that the name Euoplos Dignitas is derived from the Latin dignitas meaning dignity or greatness, which perfectly reflects the spider’s imposing size and nature. The spider’s discovery was made possible by Project DIG, a partnership between the museum and BHP and BMA, which supports research and helps to preserve Queensland’s biodiversity.
As part of Project DIG, museum scientists have been conducting targeted fieldwork to build collections, document new species, and understand the ecology and conservation status of species in the region. The work has been so successful that the Queensland Museum Network was recognized as a Queensland Great in 2022 for its groundbreaking research.
The Brigalow Belt project has been incredibly fruitful, yielding many new discoveries, including this giant trapdoor spider. The spider builds its burrows in the black soils of Central Queensland and is known to inhabit open woodland habitats. The researchers at the Queensland Museum are proud to have discovered this new species, but they also note that it is a sign of the challenges facing our planet. Land clearing is putting species like the Euoplos dignitas at risk, making it essential to support research projects like Project DIG.
Adam Webb, Head of Health, Safety, Environment for BMA, highlights that this new spider is just one of the many legacies from Project DIG. The partnership between BHP/BMA and the Queensland Museum has been instrumental in unlocking the knowledge of Queensland’s biodiversity and collections and sharing them with visitors and researchers worldwide.
This new spider species is not just exciting news for arachnologists, but it is also an opportunity for Queenslanders to engage with the wonders of science. Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch congratulated the scientists on their latest discovery and emphasized the importance of supporting research projects that contribute to new knowledge.
So, if you are an arachnophobe, this news might send shivers down your spine. But let us also appreciate the significance of this discovery and how it highlights the importance of research and conservation efforts. Let us celebrate this new addition to Queensland’s biodiversity and hope that it inspires more support for future projects like Project DIG.
To find out more about Project DIG visit https://www.museum.qld.gov.au/collections-and-research/projects/project-dig