Spiders. Just the word strikes fear in the hearts of most of us! One rare spider with an unusual abdomen was found by a Chinese orange farmer named Li Wenhua. The spider is an ancient species, but there is little documentation about it. At first, Wenhua didn’t even think the creature was a spider at all!
But once he recognized it as a spider, he called his neighbors who all rushed over to have a look at the rare arachnid. Introducing the Chinese hourglass spider, or, in Chinese, Li shi pan fu zhu. Wenhua did an internet search to find out the name of this curious creature. Zhao Li, head of the Insect Museum of West China, confirmed that the spider is indeed the rare hourglass spider.
This spider is one of the earliest spiders documented in China. It was rediscovered in 2000 in the country’s Sichuan Province. It has only been seen six other times since 2000. Li said that the spider is highly valued for scientific research and is an extremely rare species in Sichuan. Li himself has spent a lot of time trying to find a specimen but has never found one.
It is believed that the Chinese hourglass spider is a kind of trapdoor spider. It dates back to at least 2 B.C.E and was mentioned in the oldest surviving Chinese dictionary, the Er Ya. The Er Ya was published between 2 and 5 B.C.E. Share away, people!