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The World's Oldest Spider Has Died At 43

The world’s oldest spider which lived in WA has died

This keeps them from expending unnecessary energy and contributes towards extending their life, something scientists believed helped Number 16 live this long.

The world's oldest known spider has died - but not of old age. The spider is however not dead because of her age, but because of a wasp sting, the researchers told journalists.

Main launched a longterm population study of trapdoor spiders in the central wheatbelt region of Western Australia in 1973.

But Number 16 was the only survivor of the early days of the project-spiders 1 through 15 all died over the decades.

Before meeting her violent end, Number 16 lived a long life of solitude inside her burrow, punctuated by regular visits from male suitors, Mason said.

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The study on the tiny, eight-legged creature was started by Barbara York Main, a biologist specializing in the study of spiders, and later taken over by the researchers at the Curtin University, Australia.

Despite the gruesome death, her legacy lives on.

"To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider's behaviour and population dynamics", Ms Mason said.

Trapdoor spiders spent most of their life underground. Tarantulas, on the other hand, can live into their 20s.

Per the Curtin University release, Number 16 outlived the previous record holder, a captive tarantula in Mexico, by some 13 years. Moreover, she-and trapdoor spiders generally-cannot up and move if their home is destroyed or too badly damaged. As the AFP reports, there are two contributing factors. Female trapdoor spiders stay in and around the same burrow virtually all their lives, so researchers marked her burrow and went back to check on it regularly. "Thanks to the detailed records of Barbara, we were able to determine that the vast lifespan of spiders [of this species] due to their evolutionary traits, including the fact that they live in the wild bushes, and also lead a sedentary lifestyle and different a slow metabolism", says Mason.

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