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Scientists discover tarantula with bizarre horns on their backs



Spider expert Ian Enelbrecht photographed this close up of the odd horn found on C. attonitifer.


Ian Enelbrecht

Sorry, your nightmare would like a word with you.

Take a moment to say hello to Ceratogyrus Attonitifer, a spider with a species name derived from the Latin root of astonishment. Because it's just how amazed the scientists were, who found it.

The new-to-scientific tarantula has a horn-like protrusion on the back. Researchers from the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project discovered it in Angola in Africa, while studying biodiversity in the region.

Ceratogyrus attonitis is a kind of horned baboon spider, but the prominent soft horn is very unusual. The team described the tarantula in a paper released this month in the African Invertebrates journal. "No other spider in the world possesses a similar foveal protrusion," the researchers say.

The spiders are poisonous and like to eat on insects. "The fence is not considered dangerous, although bites can result in infections that can be fatal due to poor medical access," the paper notes.

C. Attonitisers may seem scary or scary to people who fear spiders, but it is an eye-opener for arachnologists. Researchers hope to study the mysterious spider further to learn more about the scope of its reach.


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