One rockin’ spider

Aptostichus bonoi.

Aptostichus bonoi.

It turns out California is an Eden of biodiversity for spiders. Director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History and taxonomist Jason Bond has identified 33 new species in the western US, 30 of which are living in the Golden State. So it would make sense that these new spiders have names tinged with celebrity. Several different species have been named for Angelina Jolie, Stephen Colbert, Penn Jillette and Bono.

Aptostichus bonoi was named for U2’s singer because it makes its home in Joshua Tree, the national park that inspired the name of the band’s 1987 album. However, bonoi is plenty impressive without the celebrity nod. Aptostichus are what’s known as trapdoor spiders. They don’t hunt or weave webs that snag their prey; instead, they make burrows in the ground and use their silk to cover the opening. They weave in sticks, sand, leaves and other debris to conceal the hole and lie in wait for some unsuspecting prey to sidle by, then pounce and deliver a venomous bite. That doesn’t exactly gel with Bono’s “here I am, check out my awesome shades and give money to prevent AIDS” approach, but it’s a pretty cool reference nonetheless.

Another fun fact about A. bonoi: Males live about 5 years, while females can live to be older than 20. Older, and  wiser, naturally.

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