Foto Friday – Creepy Crawlies
Last month, scientists at the University of Haifa announced that they had discovered a new and previously unknown species of spider. I don’t know about you, but I greet news like that with mixed emotions: pride in our local research institutions, curiosity at seeing the bug and — now having seen the photos (like this one by researcher Yael Olek) — a dash of alarm. This thing is a big as a Mack Truck.
The researchers say that this spider’s leg-span can reach up to 14 cm., which makes it the largest spider of its type in the Middle East. The species was discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar in the southern Arava region. It is a member of the genus Cerbalus and was named Cerbalus aravensis for its native habitat, if you like knowing that sort of thing.
Unfortunately, however, the poor critter’s habitat is endangered by — you guessed it — humans and their boundless capacity to screw things up. According to head of research Dr. Uri Shanas, mining projects in the area will endanger the existence of the spider as well as possibly other unknown animal species living in the sands. Hopefully, efforts will be made to preserve this unique region in the Arava, as well as the lifeforms crawling in, out and round about.
Photographer Marco Jona has a particular fascination for such creepy crawlies. Waiting patiently for the right moment, he manages to get in close and catch almost human-like expressions. A few of his photos are presented here with more on display at his website.