The jungles of Brazil have once again revealed some surprising, fantastic new species.
Nine of them, in fact -- all tarantulas, and none looking anything like what we're used to.
Sporting bright bursts of color in all sorts of patterns, it's a bit hard to fathom how these tree-dwelling arboreal tarantulas escaped detection this long. But an expedition into central and eastern Brazil led by a tarantula specialist from the Instituto Butantan has forever blown their cover.
Dr. Rogério Bertani has just published his discoveries in the online journal ZooKeys. He says there had been seven previously known species of arboreal tarantulas -- a number which has now more than doubled to 16. They are also believed to be the smallest arboreal tarantulas in the world.
Other species are very common in the nearby Amazon and even in people's homes. But these newly-discovered species are considered endangered and Dr. Bertani believes their stunning, colorful appearance could draw the unwanted attention of those involved in the pet trade.
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