Although trapdoor spiders are found all around the world, the particular specimen was discovered in Australia during the first year of Barbara York Main's survey.
"To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider's behavior and population dynamics", Leanda Mason, a Ph.D. student from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Australia's Curtin University said in a statement.
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The spider, named Number 16, was part of long-term research project that led to the fascinating discoveries on the lifespan of trapdoor spiders. The female Giaus Villosus turned 43 years, but she recently died in the course of the research.
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That makes her 15 years older than the previous spider-longevity record holder, a 28-year-old tarantula found in Mexico. Males are more likely to be seen by humans as they leave their burrow in search of a mate.
Females don't get out too much and are known to stay in or around their burrow for much if not all of their lives, making Number 16 an easy specimen for the scientists to research and, apparently, grow rather attached to. Trapdoor spiders never re-use the disused burrow of another spider, so the researchers can be fairly confident that they were monitoring the same spider for 43 years.
They cleverly camouflage their trapdoor and lay out trip lines so that when an insect triggers it, they leap out in surprise attack, dragging their prey into their burrow.
The trapdoor spiders are about 2-3 centimeters long and have powerful jaws along with sharp fangs. Her long life changes what scientists thought they knew about the species.