London: A new family of spiders has been discovered in a cave in America’s Oregon state, and was named “Trogloraptor” for its fearsome claws.
The spider, measuring up to three inches across with its legs outstretched, was found by amateur cave explorers near Grants Pass in Oregon, the Telegraph reported.
The new spider has been formally called “Trogloraptor marchingtoni”, but is commonly being called the “cave robber spider”.
Scientists said the spider hunts by hanging from strands of silk from the cave roof, snapping up passing prey with its long legs and oversized claws.
The formal description of the new species appeared in the scientific journal ZooKeys.
Light brown in colour, it has long legs with large hooked claws on the end of the front six.
It was found by a group from the Western Cave Conservancy, who were exploring a cave system in the ancient forests of the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains in southern Oregon.
They sent specimens to arachnologists at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
It is thought the spider evolved separately inside the caves and so has been given its own family within the Arachnid class of animals – naming it Trogloraptor due to its large claws.
The scientists gave the spider the name “marchingtoni” in honour of Douglas County sheriff’s deputy Dave Marchington, who led scientists to the cave.
Charles Griswold, professor and curator of arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences, who helped identify the spider, said they still have no idea what it eats or exactly how it hunts.
“For a spider, this is a pretty big one. It has remarkable claws and feet which are like scythes or hooks. We think these work to snap and trap their prey,” he said.