Discovering Two Unique Spiders in Ecuador: UEES Scientists Lead the Way

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The Espíritu Santo University (UEES) has achieved a significant scientific breakthrough by discovering two types of spiders considered unique in the world. This outstanding research, the first of its kind in the Americas, was conducted by biologists Mauricio Macías and Natalia Molina.

These small arachnids, brown in color and no more than two centimeters in size, were found in the mangroves of the Santay and Puná islands as part of a study on natural spaces conducted by the UEES Research Center. The new types of spiders have been named Chapoda santay and Chapoda guancavilca.

Chapoda santay

Chapoda guancavilca

The research aimed to determine the biodiversity of mangroves since the type of spiders present in this ecosystem was previously unknown. Between 2019 and 2021, the first study in the mangroves of Esmeraldas, Manabí, Guayas, and El Oro was conducted, where seven spider species were identified for the first time in Ecuador. On this occasion, the discovery of two types of spiders from the Chapoda genus, jumping spiders, was made, which had never been described and are entirely new to science. Ecuadorian researchers Natalia Molina and Mauricio Macías, an arachnology expert, ventured into the mangroves to collect samples. Mauricio Macías commented:

“We collected more than 10,000 specimens, then analyzed their morphology through microscopes in the UEES laboratory. For many researchers, finding a new species is a dream, and in this team, we managed to discover two.”

Since spider research is a new process in Ecuador, specialist and co-author of the research, William Galvis, arrived in Guayaquil from Colombia to help confirm the findings.

This research program will cover the comprehensive study of mangroves until the year 2050. The researchers hope to raise awareness about the need to protect the country’s mangroves. Mangroves are an infinite source of life, and spiders serve as indicators of the ecosystem’s good health. This discovery has captivated the interest of the academic community, and the participation of students from the Environmental Sciences Engineering program is encouraged. So far, two students have completed their theses inspired by spiders.

However, mangroves in Ecuador are threatened, and the research team confirmed that around 30% of mangrove vegetation cover has been destroyed in the country. Natalia Molina emphasized the need to protect and restore mangroves as they play a crucial role in coastal protection. Mangroves can capture and store carbon, serve as breeding grounds for aquatic species, act as a barrier against ocean swells, and provide protection against erosion.

Now in Ecuador, after the project’s progress and the types of insects that may exist in the territory were made public, the Arachnology nucleus was formed within the Entomological Society of Ecuador. The specimens of the species named Chapoda santay and Chapoda guancavilca, collected in the territories of the Huancavilca people, are deposited in the Museum of the National Institute of Biodiversity in Quito. Likewise, both species were registered in the World Spider Catalog.

UEES takes pride in the achievements of its scientists in this research and reaffirms its commitment to environmental protection and the promotion of environmental awareness.

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La Universidad Espíritu Santo (UEES), inicia sus actividades académicas en el año 1994 como institución privada, autofinanciada y sin fines de lucro. Su espíritu de compromiso y constante innovación están presentes en la calidad del servicio que ofrece a su comunidad.

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