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Cave spider, discovered from Java Island

May 21, 2009

A blind cave spider from Menoreh Karst, the first cave spider known to Java Island

A blind cave spider from Menoreh Karst, the first cave spider known to Java Island

No one knows how high the diversity of cave fauna in Java Island. During the exploration of cave fauna diversity for more than two years, the number of species is still far from reality.

Still many faunas are burried in the caves and remains undiscovered. With the team to explore Java caves, I have succeeded to add some additional caves species from Java even though most of them still remained undescribed and belived to be a new to sciences.

One of my team member collected enigmatic specimens of cave spider from caves in Menoreh Karst in  Central Java. During his research for his undergraduate thesis, Sidiq Harjanto, from Matalabiogama Faculty of Biology Gadjah Mada University, he collected several specimens that interesting for further studies.

The specimens are collected first time in 2008 with only single specimen and I requested to get more specimens for future taxonomic works. In 2009, he collected two more specimens from the caves and I think that was a reasonable for cave species that known have a low number of individuals. Finally, he sent the specimens to me here in Japan for futher works.

I have not enough knowledge about true spider, so I have to make a correspondence for further study. I contacted two arachnologist from Slovenia (Dr. M. Kuntner) and Netherlands (Dr. J. Miller) for their suggestion. I am pretty sure there will be something new and interesting from the specimens collected in Menoreh Karst.

The specimens has a pale in color, brownish, and the eyes extremely reduced in size and only a small trace remained. I can not give the further morphological detail of the specimens since the groups is not known to me.

The species is collected from Menoreh karst that known to be the second highest karst in Java after Sukabumi, some caves are situated on the altituted more than 600 m above sea levels. Most of the karst area in Java are situated on the altitude less than 400 m above se levels. I can not give more explanation how the species is adapted in the caves and evolved and separated from other species.

What I know, the cave life in Java still remained unknown but the threats to their existence are getting higher and higher.

Who will care with this small animals and maybe who will care with the conservation of Java Karst, no body except us who know how difficult and unique the natural process in the cave and karst and how importance their existence to our life.

Karst for better life and for better future

Cahyo Rahmadi
Special thanks to:
  1. Sidiq Harjanto and his friend in Matalabiogama who give the valuable contribution to the knowledge of Cave fauna of Java.
  2. Sigit Wiantoro who gave the good partnership during the exploration, we will do it again for next 3 years bro!!
  3. All colleagues who contributed to the study of Cave Fauna of Java.
  4. Nagao NEF (JAPAN) and Rufford Foundation (UK) for kindly give financial support for the last two years exploration.
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