New venomous, ‘tarantula-like’ spider found in south Florida

Meet the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider

As if the hurricanes, alligators, and “Florida men” aren’t enough, now our state is being invaded by a new species of venomous, “tarantula-like” spiders.

Officially known as the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider, the forest arachnid can live in a single burrow for decades.

The spider, whose Latin name is Ummidia richmond, was first found in 2012 in a “critically endangered pine Rockland forest” near Zoo Miami by a zookeeper who was checking reptile research traps.

Frank Ridgely, manager of Zoo Miami Conservation & Veterinary Services, says, “The fact that a new species like this could be found in a fragment of endangered forest in the middle of the city underscores the importance of preserving these ecosystems before we lose not only what we know, but also what is still to be discovered.”

When it comes to their appearance, Ridgley said the spiders look like “a small shiny black tarantula.”

However, despite their menacing appearance, Floridians needn’t be too concerned about the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider invasion; experts say their bite is no worse than a bee sting.

Laurel Lee

Laurel Lee is the producer of Orlando's Morning News, Orlando's News at Noon and produces various Ask the Expert shows on the weekend.

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