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Jumping spider found in Hong Kong named after famous children's writer

(Xinhua)    16:51, April 17, 2019

LONDON, April 16 (Xinhua) -- A new jumping spider discovered in a Hong Kong park has been named in honor of famous American author Eric Carle, an expert at Manchester Museum in Britain said Tuesday.

Carle is famed as the author of the ubiquitous children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The book celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the same year that Carle turns 90.

Dr. Dmitri Logunov, curator of entomology at the Manchester Museum and a recognised expert on jumping spiders, confirmed the new species of jumping spider discovered in a park in Hong Kong.

The academic said the unique spider bears a striking resemblance to a caterpillar leading it to be named "Uroballus Carlei", after author Eric Carle.

A spokesman at the University of Manchester said Tuesday: "This new species was discovered on the outskirts of one of the most densely settled places on Earth, within sight of the high-rises of Wan Chai in Hong Kong's Eastern District.

"Naturalist Stefan Obenauer made the exciting observation and contacted Dr Logunov who examined this species and confirmed it to be previously unknown to science."

Explaining the link with Carle and caterpillars, the spokesman said:"It is most likely that the new Uroballus species imitates these 'lichen moth' caterpillars, as they are commonly found on the very trees and shrubs the spider inhabits."

Logunov said: "Jumping spiders belong to the most diverse spider groups on Earth, accounting for more than 6,100 described species worldwide. They are particularly notable for their complex courtship behaviour."

Jumping spiders have evolved superior vision, aiding them greatly in their unusual mode of hunting. Apart from a battery of larger and smaller eyes on their foreheads, they typically have at least one other pair of eyes on the back edges of their thorax, giving them all-round and binocular vision and a precise judgement of distances.

As typical for the jumping spider family, they spin no web to entangle their prey, but rather stalk small insects and similar animals on foot, and jump at them from quite some distance, in a similar manner to cats. This is why they are often called 'eight-legged cats'. Among their victims are many nuisance and pest species, in particular flies and bugs.

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