Subject: Arava wolf spider
Location: Arava, Israel
January 17, 2016 2:02 am
Hey there Bug People,
This guy (girl?) came to say hello yesterday morning while I was on a hiking trip in Southern Israel. It must be one of the most beautiful, and big wolf spiders I’ve ever seen.
Some quick research online says it’s the very recently described Cerbalus aravaensis Levy, 2007, that lives in the small sandy area in the center of the Arava (a long, narrow strip south of the Dead Sea, on the border between Jordan and Israel).
Enjoy all ye bug lovers!
Signature: Ben from Israel
Happy New Year Ben,
This truly is a gorgeous Spider and we are very thankful that you have sent us your wonderful images. Thank you also for providing a scientific name, however, when we began to research that name, we realized this is NOT a Wolf Spider. Structurally, your spider differs from the shape we normally associate with Wolf Spiders. Our first clue was the on Israel’s Nature Site where images of this species seem to be classified under the Giant Crab Spider or Huntsman Spider family Sparassidae. ITIS confirms the family as Sparassidae. The Gallery Through My Lens site provides the common name White Lady Huntsman Spider. The Documenting Reality site also indicates the family is Sparassidae and provides this information: “ScienceDaily (Jan. 11, 2010) — A new and previously unknown species of spider has been discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar in the southern Arava region of Israel by a team of scientists from the Department of Biology in the University of Haifa-Oranim. Unfortunately, however, its habitat is endangered.
‘The discovery of this new spider illustrates our obligation to preserve the dune,’ says Dr. Shanas, who headed the team of scientists.
The Sands of Samar are the last remaining sand dune in Israeli territory in the southern Arava region. In the past, the sands stretched across some 7 square kilometers, but due to the rezoning of areas for agriculture and sand quarries, the sands have been reduced to fewer than 3 square kilometers.
During a course of studies that Dr. Shanas’s research team has carried out in the region, they discovered this new spider, a member of the Cerbalus genus. Since it has been found in the Arava, it has been given the name Cerbalus aravensis.”