Behemoth Daddy Longlegs

New Discoveries is collaboration between Stanford and Academy scientists and staff, appearing on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Here we celebrate new species publications and demonstrate how much more there is to learn about life on Earth.

Bigfoot daddy longlegs

A new daddy longlegs just rumbled in town. The species, Cryptomaster behemoth, was discovered in southwest Oregon by a team of researchers led by James Starrett at San Diego State University. It remained undescribed for so long because it inhabits fairly remote mountains and lives under logs and dead leaves on the forest floor. You could walk by it and never know it’s there. Interestingly, the species comes in two forms, large and small, that don’t correspond to the sexes. Scientists are still trying to figure out why the two types coexist. It’s described in a recent volume of the journal Zookeys.

Another bacterium that causes Lyme Disease

Once in awhile a new species isn’t exactly good news. Researchers at the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and colleagues just discovered a second species of bacteria that causes Lyme disease, a debilitating illness spread by tick bites that leads to joint pain, chronic fatigue, and much more. The discoverers named the species Borrelia mayonii. The name isn’t in honor of the sandwich spread but instead of Mayo Clinic, the famous hospital complex where some of the researchers work. The bacterium is described in the journal The Lancet. The team hopes that the discovery could lead to treatments or vaccines to avoid infection with Lyme disease.

Image: Starrett et al, Zookeys 2016

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