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San Diego Natural History Museum

Researchers Discover New Species of Giant Spider

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San Diego Natural History Museum

Tiny, dainty spiders no bigger than a Tic-Tac probably won’t send your blood pressure rising. But the 4-inch-long, red-fanged Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider (Califorctenus cacachilensis), recently named by researchers at the San Diego Natural History Museum and Mexico's Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, is another story.

The species was first located in 2013 in a mountain range in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Researchers, including field entomologist Jim Berrian, came across evidence of an “abnormally big” shed exoskeleton in a cave. The eye pattern led them to believe it was potentially part of a group of wandering spiders from the Ctenidae family.

Knowing Ctenidae are nocturnal, the researchers returned to the cave at night, where they spotted a living specimen. The team confirmed it was a previously unidentified species, with the findings published in Zootaxa in March.

The cave-dwelling wandering spider is related to the Brazilian wandering spider, known to be highly venomous. Although researchers haven’t fully examined the consequences of a bite from the Sierra Cacachilas, informal research indicates it probably won’t kill you. “I got bit while handling a live specimen of Califorctenus cacachilensis, and I’m still alive,” Berrian said.

All images courtesy of San Diego Natural History Museum.

[h/t Telegraph]

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The Mules That Help Fight California's Wildfires
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Forget dalmatians—in remote parts of Northern California, mules are the fire department's four-legged helpers of choice.

When a blaze roars to life in a residential area, firefighters can use trucks to transport the tools needed to battle it. But in the California wilderness, where vehicles—and sometimes thanks to environmental restrictions, helicopters—can’t venture, mules bear the burden. According to Business Insider, the donkey-horse hybrids can carry 120 pounds of supplies apiece while walking 4 mph up rugged terrain. Llamas are also capable of making the trek, but mules are preferred for their resilience and intelligence.

You can see them at work in the video below.

These animals do extraordinary work for the country, but they’re not the only mules assisting the U.S. government. The Havasupai village of Supai is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and the mail is delivered there each day by parcel-toting mules.

[h/t Business Insider]

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