AUSTRALIA (CBS Local) – The world’s oldest known spider has died in Western Australia at the age of 43. The record-breaking arachnid was 15 years older than any other spider scientists have found.
- World’s oldest spider, dubbed “Number 16,” has died at 43
- Female Giaus Villosus, better known as a trapdoor spider, succumbed to wasp sting
- Trapdoor spiders commonly seen in Australia, typically live 5-20 years
- By remaining in same burrow from birth, female trapdoor spiders use little energy
- Previous record lifespan owned by 28-year-old tarantula in Mexico
According to a report in Pacific Conservation Biology, the ancient trapdoor spider was killed by a wasp sting in the country’s Central Wheatbelt region recently. The female arachnid, known as “Number 16,” was discovered by Barbara York Main in 1974 and eventually outlived a 28-year-old tarantula in Mexico – the former oldest spider.
“To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behavior and popular dynamics,” the spider study’s current lead author Leanda Mason told The Telegraph. “We’re really miserable about it. We were hoping she could have made it to 50 years old.”
The spider likely managed to live for so long by staying in the same burrow its entire life, allowing it to use little energy over the years.
The trapdoor spider is a common sight in Australia and reportedly lives between five and 20 years. Females like Number 16 reportedly live out most of their lives in the same burrow hole. Males are more likely to be seen by humans as they leave their burrow in search of a mate.
The Australian researchers added in their report that the remarkably long life of Number 16 could actually “provide lessons for humanity and sustainable living.”