New species of spider discovered in Johnson County nature preserve

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. – A University of Indianapolis professor discovered a brand-new species of spider in Johnson County.

According to the Central Indiana Land Trust, Marc Milne found the previously unknown species during a “bioblitz”–an intensive inventory of plants, animals and fungi–at Glacier’s End Nature Preserve. The spiders are tentatively called Orenoetides sp. and are about 2.5 millimeters in size. They live in leaf litter, the group said.

“While some scientists are exploring outer space, it’s amazing to think that we’re still discovering new things on earth, like new species of spiders right here in Central Indiana. The discovery highlights why this type of land protection is necessary,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. “There is still so much to be discovered in the natural areas that surround us, but it will all remain undiscovered if we fail to protect those areas.”

Central Indiana Land Trust said the discovery makes its recent addition of 97 acres to the preserve even more important. The Glacier’s End Nature Preserve covers 300 acres in Johnson County; the Central Indiana Land Trust protects nearly 700 total acres in Johnson County when including Glacier’s End Nature Preserve, the Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow and Bob’s Woods Conservation Easement.

Chapman noted that adding more acreage creates a larger buffer for native plants and animals.

“Studies have found that box turtle nests within 100 feet of a forest edge can have zero percent productivity – every egg is eaten by predators,” Chapman said. “Some birds suffer a similar fate. By adding land, and in the near future, planting trees in open areas, we protect the habitats that allow those animals to survive.”

The Land Trust plans to open Glacier’s End for public access in 2018 after adding trails, educational signs and parking areas large enough to accommodate school buses.

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