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Friday, February 18, 2011

Fascinating-New Spider Species Found on Foster Island

 How amazing the natural world is!  

According to Crosscut Blog a brand new species of spider has been identified on Seattle's Foster Island by a scientist and arachnid expert at the Burke Museum on UW Campus.
(This is the string of islands next to the 520 Bridge and is actually part of the WA Park Arboretum).

This discovery is significant of course, not only as an incredible scientific discovery but because of the upcoming expansion of the 520 Bridge. The extensive environmental process which is needed to undertake this expansion includes cataloguing the wildlife on Foster island and the Arboretum, which of course includes wetlands and salmonid habitat.

" was a female crab spider of the genus Philodromus, and one of the "Philodromus imbecillus" group (about 10 closely related species, of which only one, Philodromus insperatus, is known from Washington)."

                   Rod Crawford
                 Nature never stops   surprising: Scientists believe a new species of crab spider has been found on Foster Island.

Aerial view of UWBG
WA Park Arboretum Arial Map

A new spider species discovered in Seattle?

It's amazing what we still don't know about where we live, as new finds by scientists and amateurs are helping to rewrite textbooks. A recent discovery in the Arboretum is a case in point, but hardly unique.

It's the 21st Century. The days of naturalists likeDavid Douglas and Archibald Menzies wandering the Pacific Northwest and finding discoveries new to science at every turn are long over, aren't they? Surely we know every nook and cranny of this place by now. 
And yet. ...
On a recent tour of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, we came to the office of Rod Crawford. The Burke, I was told, is not known for its bug collection (mammals, fish, birds, yes), but Crawford is their spider man (technically, their Curatorial Associate of Arachnida). His office door is shut, no light shines from beneath the door. Our guide gently knocks and we hear a shuffling from inside. I am reluctant to enter, being close to arachnophobic. The door opens and a man stands there, eyes blinking like a mole, looking a bit like a character played by Wallace Shawn. He works in the dark to provide a nocturnal environment for some of his specimens, which can be heard scuttling in the background.

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