New species of spider discovered in UK with no previous record of it anywhere in the world

A new tiny spider species previously unknown to science has been discovered.

No record of the species, named Anasaitis milesae (Tremough Jumper), has been found anywhere in the world – but it is related to other species known in the Caribbean, so experts believe the spiders arrived in the UK on imported plants.

Several of the tiny jumping spiders (4mm long), along with 500 other species, were collected during the annual BioBlitz nature survey last year at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, in Cornwall.

Spider experts believed the species was unlikely to be a Cornish native - so sent them to Dmitri Logunov, Europe’s leading jumping spider expert, at Manchester Museum.

But it was confirmed this particular species had only been formally identified in Cornwall, no where else in the world.

Co-organiser Finley Hutchinson, a BSc Conservation Biology and Ecology student at the University of Exeter, said: “The spider was among over 500 species we found and identified during BioBlitz 2023.

“I hadn’t seen anything like them before, and neither had Cornish spider expert Tylan Berry.

“So Tylan went out and found some more later the same day, and he and I collected many more from tree ferns near Lime Avenue on campus a couple of weeks later.”

After the specimens were sent to Logunov, it was quickly confirmed they matched nothing in Europe.

Finley explained: "The jumping spider family is the largest spider family in the world, so narrowing it down beyond that took much longer.

“However, eventually he identified them as a member of the Caribbean genus Anasaitis, but not a known species.

“So, strangely, this species has not been formally identified in its native range – so the only records in the world are on the Penryn Campus, and another recent record in Penzance.”

Although there is no common name for the species, Berry is calling it the ‘Tremough Jumper’.

”It’s quite amazing that a new species to science has been found in the UK” Berry said.

“This very rarely happens in modern times as the county is very well studied as far as spiders go.

"Who knew a pretty little 4mm jumping spider would be hiding in front of our eyes?”