Scientists have discovered a new species of a large spider in Angola’s rainforest. The eight-legged hairy creature has one peculiarity – a growth on the back that resembles a horn or a stunted ninth leg. Biologists have named it Ceratogyrus attonitife. What have they learned about it so far?

A New Tarantula Species

During the National Geographic expedition, which aimed to explore and find out how best to keep the area around the Okavango River in Angola, Namibia, and Botswana, in its original state, biologists discovered a new species of large tarantula.

Ceratogyrus attonitife. Picture from YouTube / BBC What’s New / Actu Jeunes

In the survey, researchers identified and described many species of animals and plants. And several new species, including the tarantula Ceratogyrus attonitife, which belongs to the group of so-called “horned tarantulas”. This is not the only tarantula with a horn on its back, but it is one of the largest.

Horned Tarantulas

According to the authors of the study, no other spider in the world has a similar protrusion. The purpose of the horn is not yet known to scientists. The first specimens of the “horned spider” were described by scientists in mid-2015 in the Angolan forests.

Horned tarantula Ceratogyrus darlingi. Photo by I, Sarefo, CC BY-SA 3.0

Because these tarantulas live in holes in the ground, the search for them has been exceedingly difficult. During the discovery of this creature, biologists found that these spiders are very aggressive. They furiously attack everything that appears in their burrows.

The expedition received more information from the locals: tarantulas feed mainly on insects; the females often widen existing holes in the ground instead of digging their own. The natives also reported that these tarantulas are poisonous, but their venom does not pose a great risk to humans.

According to scientists, the discovery of a large unknown tarantula is a fascinating example of how little we know about the area around the Okavango River. So far, about 15 species of horned tarantulas (ceratogyrus) are known.

Source:, featured image from YouTube / BBC What’s New / Actu Jeunes