Oldest Spider Dies

May 19, 2018

Do we really know which spider is the world’s oldest? Probably not. There are thousands of spiders in the Amazon rainforest that might be older, but this spider here (See photo below) is the most well-known elderly spider in the world. She was born in Australia and started her life in darkness because of a screen created by her mom to seal the entrance of their home during a heat wave.

via @leandaMason on @twitter

The spider was found by Barbara York Main, a zoologist exploring  Australia’s North Bungulla Reserve for spider habitats. Main was interested in learning how long spiders lived and spent hours tagging spiders in this region. Spider Number 16, the hero of this story, was one of many that she found.

Number 16, a Female Gaius villosus spider ended up being part of a study conducted by Main. Although recently retired, when Main visited her eight-legged friend one last time, Number 16 was gone, having lived forty-three years! During her lifetime, the spider was the subject of many observations and hypotheses (did you know they never leave their burrows until they die?).

And yes, this special spider lived life known as Number 16. What would you have named her?