As If Tarantulas Aren’t Scary Enough, Scientists Have Now Discovered One With An Unusual Horn On Its Back

For people who are terrified of spiders, their fangs and eight legs are usually enough to make them scream in fear. But imagine if there were a variety of spiders that also had a horn? Well, sorry to say, this species actually does exist. Known as horned baboon spiders, this group of spiders is easily identified by a horn-like protuberance on their backs.

However, researchers from the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project have discovered a spider from this species that has a rather unusual horn on its back.

The National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project aims to uncover more of the biodiversity in the entire Okavango catchment of Angola, Namibia, and Botswana. By doing so, they hope to create sustainable conservation in these areas.

Ceratogyrus attonitifer, named from the Latin word which means “astonishment,” was identified by researchers in Angola in Africa, after they were delving into biodiversity in the region, according to CNet. However, the researchers made a startling discovery with the new spider variety.

While this tarantula has the horn that many members of its species have, this spider’s horn is soft.

“No other spider in the world possesses a similar foveal protuberance,” the researchers said in their paper which was published to the African Invertebrates journal this month.

The unusual tarantula was discovered during field surveys of miombo forests of central Angola during 2015 and 2016, according to Phys.org. During this time, researchers collected several females of the species. They also gathered information from indigenous people of the area to find out more about the tarantula that the locals dub chandachuly.

Information about the spider’s behavior was also collected during the field studies. As a result of this, it is known that Ceratogyrus attonitifer likes to dine on insects. The females are also known to enlarge existing burrows rather than dig new ones for themselves.

But are they venomous?

According to the paper, this strange variety of horned baboon spiders are not considered dangerous. However, due to the location of this species and the fact that hygiene can be compromised in the region, the researchers offer concern about their venom.

“The venom is not considered to be dangerous, though bites may result in infections which can be fatal due to poor medical access,” the researchers’ paper states.

As for the horn, scientists actually have no idea why this variety of spiders have it. Very little is known about this spider and researchers are eager to continue on in their study of the tarantula with its unusual soft horn.