Researchers Speculate That the World’s Oldest Spider Was Killed by a Wasp

Photo Credit: Coast to Cactus

Australian researchers monitoring spiders in the wild say that the world’s oldest spider on record has died at the ripe old age of 43. The previous title holder was a 28-year-old tarantula.

Photo Credit: Coast to Cactus

In a press release, lead researcher Leanda Mason says, “To our knowledge, this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behavior and population dynamics.”

The female Gaius villosus trapdoor spider is a sedentary creature that builds a tunnel in the ground and seldom wanders too far from its lair.

Some folks online, however, were more interested in finding out how a spider’s age is determined.

Photo Credit: Christine Best

Photo Credit: Ryan Evans

Photo Credit: Matthew Marsden

The female spider reported on here, named “Number 16,” was first documented as a spiderling in a study from 1974. That study used tagged pegs next to the spider burrows to keep track of individual spiders, as they never re-uses the burrow of another spider. This allows scientists to feel confident that they were monitoring the same spider.

Sadly, it appears that Number 16 didn’t die of old age – her burrow showed signs of damage from a parasitic wasp late last year. Her burrow fell into disrepair soon after, indicating that she likely died from the encounter.

h/t: Mashable

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