Dr. Andrew Baxter was hiking in South Africa on Table Mountain and was between 500-800m high in altitude when he found a new species of spider among some moist fynbos.
At first, he thought it was just a common spider so he took a few pictures of it but when he shared the photos on a forum called Spider Club of South Africa. The feedback he was getting from the majority of people is that they could not say for sure what species it was. Maybe he discovered a new spider they said.
Right after hearing that, Dr. Baxter went back to the spot where he saw the spider and luckily saw it again and collected a live specimen to bring back to the lab to be analyzed. So far, all we know is the spider has a 1cm body shaped like a strawberry and doesn’t appear to be able to produce web.
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As of now, they are calling it the strawberry theridiid or a strawberry button spider until they give it an official name, even though it’s not within the same genus as a button or the widow spider. They are going to donate the naming of the spider to a species-naming auction facilitated by WWF South Africa.
“For simplicity’s sake, let’s call it a strawberry theridiid, or a strawberry button (even though it’s not in the same genus as the button/widow spiders), or call it what you want. According to Prof. Haddad, there are at least five species of these undescribed theridiids in South Africa, and he suspects it is Ruborridion sp., but Prof. Dippenaar-Schoeman thinks it’s something else, possibly a new genus,” Rudolph Steinkampf told the The Spider Club of South Africa.