- Researchers have found a new group of trapdoor spiders in eastern Australia
- They live in burrows so well disguised researchers did not find them for years
- Scientists studied the spider's DNA and appearance to confirm the discovery
A new group of spiders that build burrows well-hidden by camouflaged hinge-doors has been discovered in eastern Australia.
Researchers say the new trapdoor spider group probably remained undiscovered until recently because their burrows are so well disguised by doors made of leaves, twigs and spider silk.
The spiders are widespread on Australia's east coast, says researcher and former Griffith University PhD student Jeremy Wilson.
They are a separate genus to other trapdoor spiders.
'We compared their physical appearance and the burrows they construct and then looked for molecular differences in their DNA,' Dr Wilson said.
'We found differences in their physical appearance which allow them to be distinguished from other trapdoor spiders in eastern Australia.'
The researchers named the group of spiders Cryptoforis hughesae, meaning cryptic door, in reference to the hidden burrows.
The Cryptoforis group has almost 20 new species including one found in most forests and natural reserves in Brisbane.
Co-author and Queensland Museum Principal Curator of Arachnology Dr Michael Rix said the discovery proved the newly-described trapdoor spider was far more diverse and wide-spread than previously though.
The 'hughesae' part of the name of the spider is a reference to Dr Wilson's retired mentor and supervisor Emeritus Professor Jane Hughes.
Dr Wilson said he decided to name the spider after his mentor as a fitting tribute for everything she had done for him.
'Jane has had a huge impact on my development as a scientist, and no doubt on many others having mentored more than 70 postgraduate students and over 60 honours students,' Dr Wilson said.