Scientists from Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity Education and Research Organisation have collected a new Tiger Spider, Poecilotheria rajaei, noted for its large size (8 inches). The predatory spider feeds on insects, snakes, small rodents and small birds. The new Tiger Spider differs in its markings from other species in the Genus Poecilotheria. However, it is not clear whether this spider is a true species or a variety.
The spider came to the attention of scientists when locals presented a 9 inch spider that they had killed. Sri Lanka has been a war zone recently, so travel to the spider habitat was challenging. The new species has been named after the guide, Michael Rajakumar Purajah, who led the scientists to the site.
Tiger Spiders are indigenous to India and Sri Lanka. Several species are rare or endangered due to habitat destruction.