New Spider Species Discovered in the Tamar Valley

New Spider Species Discovered in the Tamar Valley

While light trapping for moths and other insects at Beechford in the summer of 2022/23, QVMAG Collections Officer Simon Fearn made a unique discovery. 

While hunting around with a head torch on, Fearn noticed the shine of spider eyes glittering on the ground beneath him. 

After closer inspection, Fearn realised those shining eyes belonged to a species of wolf spider; but a species he was not familiar with. Several were collected in case they were something of interest. 

Soon after contacting QVMAG Spider Honorary Research Associate John Douglas, and through liaison with Western Australian wolf spider expert Dr Volker Framenau, it was confirmed that what Fearn had collected was an undescribed species. 

While completing the process of creating a new record for this species in the Australian Journal of Taxonomy, Framenau, Douglas and Fearn agreed to name the newly discovered species in celebration of long-term QVMAG Natural Sciences Collection Officer, Judy Rainbird. 

After having worked in the Natural Sciences department for 45 years, the venator judyrainbirdae will now remain a part of Tasmanian natural sciences history in celebration of the contribution Judy has had toward the QVMAG collection. 

QVMAG Collections Officer Simon Fearn said it was only fitting to acknowledge the positive impact Judy has had during her 45-year tenure working in the QVMAG collection. 

“It’s a very fitting and important honour for someone involved in natural science, and Judy deserves it,” Fearn said. 

“The amazing state of the collections reflects her stewardship over the past four decades, and this was a great way to acknowledge her significant contributions.” 

General Manager Creative Arts and Cultural Services Shane Fitzgerald said it was a delight to support this process in honour of Judy’s work at QVMAG. 

“Forty-five years is an incredible length of time to work within a collection, making this a fitting celebration of Judy’s contribution to our Natural Sciences team,” Fitzgerald said. 

“I can’t think of a better way to acknowledge how proud we all are of her work within the QVMAG collection.”

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