National News

New trapdoor spider group found on coast

A new group of spiders that build burrows well-hidden by camouflaged hinge-doors has been discovered in eastern Australia.

Researchers say the new trapdoor spider group probably remained undiscovered until recently because their burrows are so well disguised by doors made of leaves, twigs and spider silk.

The spiders are widespread on Australia's east coast, says researcher and former Griffith University PhD student Jeremy Wilson.

They are a separate genus to other trapdoor spiders.

"We compared their physical appearance and the burrows they construct and then looked for molecular differences in their DNA," Dr Wilson said.

"We found differences in their physical appearance which allow them to be distinguished from other trapdoor spiders in eastern Australia."

The researchers named the group of spiders Cryptoforis, meaning cryptic door, in reference to the hidden burrows.

The Cryptoforis group has almost 20 new species including one found in most forests and natural reserves in Brisbane.

© AAP 2020