5 Newly Discovered Creatures That Will Haunt Your Nightmares

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I often wake in a cold sweat, swiping at my arms and inside my ears frantically trying to scatter the insects crawling on my skin. These are my nightmares, invaded by creepy crawlers of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps it's because my worst nightmares seem to be coming true. Recently in China, a woman found that a spider had made a home of her ear for five days before doctors extracted it. If ear-nesting spiders don't do it for you, perhaps these recently discovered creatures will have you calling out for Mommy in the wee hours of the night. 

1. The Cave Spider That Could Rip Your Eyes Out

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

What's scary about the Trogloraptor marchingtoni isn't that it's pretty big for a spider or that it was found right here on our home turf (in a cave in Oregon), it's that at the end of its legs are barbed, scythe-like claws. Affectionately called the "cave robber" spider, its body isn't much bigger than your garden variety spider, but when its legs are extended, it measures one and a half inches wide. And with those claws, entomologists suspect they are more predator than wait-and-grab. Should something touch its legs while dangling from the air, the spider may snap shut and grab its prey. Experts have never seen anything like this spider, which puts the cave robber not only into a new category of species, but in its own family of spiders. Which means there may be more where this came from.

2. The Spider Whose Web Could Swallow You Whole

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

What do you do if you're a spider without claws? How about spin such a giant web that you can catch human-sized food? That's what the Caerostris darwini is capable of. Discovered in 2007 in the jungles of Madagascar, the "Darwin bark spider" is only an inch wide but can cover 30-square-foot areas with its webs. One anchor line of its thread can stretch up to 80 feet in midair. If that weren't enough, the silk it spins is NASA-grade strong, potentially 10 times better than Kevlar.

3. The Roach That Can Jump on Your Face

http://youtu.be/nnuExrjOjfM

Now this is what I'm talking about. It's bad enough that cockroaches can scurry in and out of unfathomably small spaces and, most likely, survive nuclear warfare. Now they can take flight!

Introducing the chill-inspiring Saltoblattella montistabularis or, as it's affectionately called, "leaproach." Unlike the 4,000 some-odd other species of roach, this talented little guy can jump. The bug catapults itself from the grass to the tops of flowers with its buff hind legs. It's so powerful, in fact, that it can cover as many as 50 bug-body lengths in one jump (we can only manage about two body lengths).

4. The Leech That Will Feed on Your Insides

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, scientists happened upon a new type of leech whose mere existence will surely ruin your future freshwater swims. Dubbed the Tyrannobdella rex, or "tyrant leech king," this new species was discovered in the remote Peruvian Amazon. The three-inch long bloodsucker has exceptionally large teeth (hence the name), which it uses to saw into the soft inner tissue of mammals' orifices. In horror-speak: this hideous creature can crawl up your nose, into your ear, or other unmentionables, and dine on your insides using its little razor-like teeth. Good luck ever enjoying Stand By Me again. 

5. The Cricket That Wants Your Blood

Jiminy this guy is not. This flesh-eating cricket was discovered by a film crew exploring a South American cave in 2012. The yet-to-be named creature swims instead of jumps and has developed highly specialized palps, or mouthparts, for better locating its prey and stealthily moving about its dark habitats. 

August 23, 2012 - 7:31pm
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