This undated photo from the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Calif., shows a specimen of a new family of spiders, which scientists are calling Cave Robber (Trogloraptor marchingtoni ) for its fearsome claws. Amateur cave explorers found the spider in 2010 in a cave outside Grants Pass, Ore., and sent specimens to the California Academy of Sciences, where scientists decided it was so evolutionarily different that they had to create a whole new family to put it in. The discovery is described in an article published Friday in the online edition of the journal Zookeys.
They managed to avoid the notice of nosy human beings for thousands of years, mostly by clinging to the roofs of dark caves and keeping their six tiny eyes peeled for trouble. But the secret existence of the Bigfoot of spiders has come to an end.
Scientists said the spiders -- which represent its own genus and family -- were found in the caves of southwestern Oregon. Much about the Trogloraptor, or "cave robber," remains a mystery. They suspect that its large raptorial claws are a sign that it's a fierce, specialized predator. "When something touches their feet they may snap shut and grab prey," Charles Griswold, an entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences, told the New York Times. Scientists noted that this may not be the last historic find. "If such a large and bizarre spider could have gone undetected for so long, who knows what else may lurk undiscovered," they said in the journal ZooKeys. They found a number of unique features that suggested a very ancient lineage, which may yet result in some revisions to their understanding of spider evolution.
LOS ANGELES TIMES