BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
A new spider species was discovered at the Ahetaha Water Conservation Association area in East Are’Are, Malaita Province.
The spider species called Rolled-up leaf spider and scientifically known as Poltys Mouhoti was found at the Ahetaha Water Conservation site during a two-day terrestrial species baseline survey carried out from 11 to 13 May this year.
The baseline survey was led by two specialists and local scientists namely; Mr. Albert Kwatelae who is the President of the Solomon Islands Ranger’s office and Mr. Corzzierrah Posala a Tropical Ecologist and a Ph.D. Candidate of Lincoln University, Christ Church, New Zealand who has supported Albert Kwatelae and Ahetaha local rangers during the survey to find this particular spider species.
This is the first record for the Solomon Islands and Malaita province.
Solomon Islands Rangers Association General Secretary and Ahetaha Water Conservation Association (AWCA) Coordinator, Eddie Haikau Huitarau said the species was first discovered in India.
“It opens the possibility for a new record of a spider for Malaita and though it is identified in Asia it’s an opportunity for the Solomon Islands.
“In the country especially in Malaita information about insects and spiders is lacking and this finding will pave way for further study, that’s according to Albert Kwatelae of the Solomon Islands Ranger office,” he said.
The spider species is on the progress screening against the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
He said that the common name for the new spider species is Rolled-up leaf spider and scientifically known as Poltys Mouhoti.
It looks more similar to dead leaves at day times, it ate up its web and destroyed it before nightfall and camouflages, and at night it builds its web to trap insects and butterflies for food, said Huitarau.
He said that the spider rolls itself for a purpose of defence and protection.
He stated that the spider species is native to Vietnam and can be found in Thailand and Malaysia.
The AWCA is a leading mentor to many newly established conservation sites in ward 19 in East Are’Are, Malaita province and has been always inclusive and led by examples.
Through the Ahetaha networking and recognition, they helped many new groups to become affiliated members with the Solomon Islands Rangers Association and Mai-Ma’asina Green Belt (MMGB).