Arachnophobes beware, spiders can live for decades.
According to TIME, the world’s oldest spider, a 43-year-old, female trapdoor tarantula (Gaius villosus) known as Number 16, died recently because of a wasp sting.
The sad news was first shared by Pacific Conservation Biology Journal, which published the recent results of a long-term population study in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
Number 16 did not die in vain. The arachnid matriarch, who lasted long after the previous record holder for World’s Oldest Spider — a 28-year old tarantula from Mexico — and the information she unknowingly shared, will continue to help researchers unlock the secrets of the trapdoor tarantula’s longevity. Knowledge which could help humans with sustainable living.
“To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behavior and population dynamics,” the lead author of the recent study, Curtin University PhD student Leanda Mason, told the school in a statement.
The effort to learn more about how these creatures last in the Australian bushland (low metabolism and a”sedentary nature” appear to be key) was first started by Barbara York Main in 1974.
Number 16 was discovered during the early stages of the long-term population study and was monitored until her death in the wild.
While the lead lady spider of the study is no longer with us, the research team plans to continue Main’s work, extending it to see how climate change, deforestation and other stresses affect the species, according to Curtin University.
While the research didn’t mention this, it seems clears that no living critter is a big fan of wasps.