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Biologist Discovers What Is Believed To Be New Species of Rainforest Spider At Peruís Tambopata Research Center



For Immediate Release

Biologist Discovers What Is Believed To Be
New Species of Rainforest Spider
At Peru’s Tambopata Research Center
LIMA, Peru, Dec. 11, 2012 – Peru’s visionary leader in sustainable tourism, Rainforest Expeditions, reports that a new species of spider is believed to have been discovered near the Tambopata Research Center deep in the Peruvian Amazon. The spider is unique in that it constructs a larger, false spider in its web, completely from debris.
New Spider Discovered in Peru"I've never seen anything like this before,” claims Phil Torres, a Cornell-educated biologist who found the spider while taking wildlife photos in September 2012 near the Tambopata Research Center.
“The next steps are to get more photos and take a specimen for closer examination and comparison to other known species. There is a very high chance this is a new species which, when verified, we'll have to name after me, of course!” adds Torres with a wink.
Rainforest Expeditions offers the following programs where guests may come across this spider or other rare species while exploring jungle trails:
Tambopata Research Center Tour, six-day/five-night package for $970 double occupancy ($1,245 single). See:
Rainforest Wildlife Photography Tour, seven-day/six-night package at $2,521 double occupancy ($2,851 single). See:
Family Program for Teens, a six-day/five-night tour at $1,099 double occupancy ($1,374 single). See:
Rainforest Expeditions’ lodges are accessed from Puerto Maldonado airport arriving from Lima or Cusco on daily commercial flights lasting 45 or 90 minutes respectively. A bus transports guests to the Infierno River Port to board motorized wooden canoes for a 45-minute trip to the first lodge, Posada Amazonas. Refugio Amazonas, the second lodge, is a 3.5-hour boat trip after departing the bus. The third and most remote is Tambopata Research Center, requiring a 4-hour additional upriver boat ride from Refugio Amazonas.  Each lodge is only a few minutes on foot from the river bank.  See:
This region is no stranger to new species. In early 2012 the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported on 365 previously undocumented species found in Bahuaja Sonene National Park in the Tambopata River region of southeastern Peru.
More on the Spider
“Because of the spider’s behavior and appearance, I thought that it might be a new species,” Torres states. “After contacting spider experts, we think it is likely in the genus Cyclosa, which is known for piling debris in its web for defense against predators but has never been recorded to do it in such a defined pattern as this particular discovery. The false spiders created by this creature appeared to be made up mostly of dead leaves but also any debris that landed in or near the web- including the remains of its past prey.”
“It was very interesting to see the variation in the false spider pattern. Some clearly have 8 legs just like a spider, others range between 4 and 7, but all have a very distinct 'spider hanging in web'-like appearance.  In all my studies and experience, I can safely say that it is incredibly rare behavior to see an animal create a larger, 'scarier' version of itself from debris for protection. This would likely serve to either intimidate any animal that would like to make a meal of a smaller spider or to serve as a decoy so any animal that eats it will get a mouth full of leaves rather than spider. There are several animals out there that eat spiders, including some insects, mammals, and birds, and this would appear to be an excellent defense against any visually-attracted predator.
About Phil Torres
Phil Torres is a Cornell University graduate whose studies focus on insects, evolution, conservation, and diversity. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet as an expert in entomology as well as on Current TV’s award-winning Vanguard Journalism show as a journalist and news correspondent. He has been fortunate enough to participate in scientific expeditions in Venezuela (where he was held at gunpoint) and Mongolia (where he got lost in a forest full of quicksand) and assisted in discovering over 40 new species. Currently working out of Peru, Phil has worked for over a year in the Amazon on research and environmental education projects and just finished up field work in the Amazon basin of Ecuador, surveying birds, butterflies, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians as well as teaching field biology techniques.
About Rainforest Expeditions
Rainforest Expeditions ( is a recipient of The Rainforest Alliance 2012 Sustainable Standard-Setter award. This Peruvian ecotourism company shares with visitors in a s
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