Silk spinners and spidery male sex organs mix with nonspider traits
What looks like a spider, but with a segmented rear plus a long spike of a tail, has turned up in amber that’s about 100 million years old.
Roughly the size of a peppercorn (not including the tail, which stretches several times the body length), this newly described extinct species lived in forests in what is now Myanmar during the dinosaur-rich Cretaceous Period.
Spiders as their own distinctive group had evolved long before. Whether this tailed creature should be considered a true spider (of the group Araneae) is debatable though, researchers acknowledge February 5 in two studies in Nature Ecology & Evolution. In one of the papers, the fossils’ chimeric mash-up of traits both spidery and nonspidery inspired Bo Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing and colleagues to name the species Chimerarachne yingi.
C. yingi indeed has