The first encounter between the zookeeper and one of the spiders in question apparently took place nearly a decade ago.
It’s recently been revealed that new species of trapdoor spider was discovered in 2012 by staff from Zoo Miami in a nearby critically endangered pine rockland forest.
According to a zoo press release, the so-called Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider (Ummidia richmond) was first found in 2012 by a zookeeper who was checking reptile research traps.
While photos of the spider snapped by the zookeeper apparently did not match the existing records for known species, another such spider was found two years later, with Dr. Rebecca Godwin of Piedmont College eventually confirming it as a previously unrecorded species.
”The fact that a new species like this could be found in a fragment of endangered forest in the middle of the city underscores the importance of preserving these ecosystems before we lose not only what we know, but also what is still to be discovered,” said Frank Ridgley, DVM, Zoo Miami Conservation & Veterinary Services Manager.
He also pointed out that “venoms of related species have been found to contain compounds with potential use as pain medications and cancer treatments.”