Nice piece on this spider. ” The extraordinary life and death of the world’s oldest known spider
This is the story of the oldest known spider in the world and the people who knew her. The details are compiled largely from research conducted by Barbara Main and Leanda Mason, who knew her best over nearly half a century.
She was born beneath an acacia tree in one of the few patches of wilderness left in the southwest Australian wheat belt, in an underground burrow lined with her mother’s perfect silk.
Her mother had used the same silk, strong and thick, to seal the burrow’s entrance against the withering heat of the summer of 1974, and against all the flying, prodding things that prowled the North Bungulla Reserve.
She lived like that, in safety and darkness, for the first six months of her life. Then one day in the rainy autumn months, her mother unsealed the tunnel, and she left.
On April 19, Mason, Main and Grant Wardell-Johnson co-published a paper in Pacific Conservation Biology, announcing the death of spider 16 at age 43.
She was the oldest spider known to have existed, Mason wrote, eclipsing the previous record set by a 28-year-old tarantula.
“We can be inspired by an ancient mygalomorph spider and the rich biodiversity she embodied,” she wrote, beside a photo of a perfect hole beneath a tree — nearly half a century of work: Main’s, hers and the spider’s.”