Tarantulas can be found all over the world. If you live in North America, there's a good chance that any tarantula you've crossed paths with has been brown, but more vibrant-looking variations do exist. Case in point: Typhochlaena costae, one of the many species of South American tree-climbing tarantulas described in the latest issue of ZooKeys by Rogério Bertanim, an ecologist at Brazil's Instituto Butantan.

T. costae is one of nine newly discovered species, which, according to Bertanim, brings the number of species known to central and eastern Brazil from seven to sixteen. And if increasing our stock of known tarantulas weirds you out, just remember: tarantulas may look formidable, but all but a handful of species are completely harmless to humans; as it happens, the fact that most South American tarantula species depend on forest protection means that we pose a much greater threat to them than they do to us.


Bertani's descriptions of T. costae and several other newly identified, revised and resurrected species are recorded in the latest issue of ZooKeys, and are accessible here, free of charge.