Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Amatuer explorers discover new family of spiders in Oregon cave

Named for its fearsome front claws, trogloraptors are the first new family of spiders discovered in North America since 1870.

By Jeff BarnardAP Environmental Writer / August 17, 2012

This undated photo from the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Calif., shows a specimen of a new family of spiders, which scientists are calling Cave Robber (Trogloraptor marchingtoni ) for its fearsome claws.

California Academy of Sciences/AP


Grants Pass, Ore.

Amateur cave explorers have found a new family of spiders in southern Oregon that scientists have dubbed Trogloraptor, or cave robber, for its fearsome front claws.

Skip to next paragraph

The spelunkers sent specimens to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Entomologists there say the spider — the size of a half dollar — evolved so distinctly that it requires its own taxonomic family — the first new spider family from North America since 1870.

The species name, marchingtoni, honors Deschutes County sheriff's Deputy Neil Marchington, who led scientists to the cave outside Grants Pass.

Academy entomologist Charles Griswold says the spider spins a crude web, but scientists don't know yet what or how it eats.

The discovery is described in the online edition of the journal ZooKeys.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!