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Baja Spiders

April 18, 2014

Scientists discover new insects and spiders on an expedition to a little-known area of Baja, California.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Baja’s biodiversity. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Sierra de las Cachilas, Baja, California, Mexico. (Alan Harper/Flickr)

Sierra Cachilas, Baja, California, Mexico. (Alan Harper/Flickr)

Most mammals, birds, and fish are already known to science, but they make up a

small fraction of animal life on the planet. The vast majority of animals are insects

and spiders, and many of them have yet to be discovered.

JIM BERRIAN (San Diego Natural History Museum):

After bacteria, insects are the dominant creatures on the planet.

HIRSHON:

That’s field entomologist Jim Berrian, of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

He and his team recently traveled to Baja, California, to catalog the species living

in a little-known mountainous region. During the expedition, they discovered

several new species, including a type of wandering spider previously unknown to

science.

BERRIAN:

The front half is chocolate brown with bluish green iridescence on the legs. It’s a

gorgeous spider.

HIRSHON:

Berrian says understanding arthropod biodiversity is important because they

provide trillions of dollars worth of services, such as pollination and pest control,

free of charge. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.