Spider, spider, reflecting bright, in the Cretaceous, in the night
February 20, 2019 2:25 PM   Subscribe

High School amateur fossil hunter, Kye-Soo Nam, discovered "a diverse new spider (Araneae) fauna from the Jinju Formation, Cretaceous (Albian) of Korea" (abstract only of article in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, via Taylor & Francis Online). In addition to indicating that this extinct family of spiders that were "clearly very common in the Cretaceous," according to Paul Selden, Professor of Geology at the University of Kansas, this find is notable for being discovered in shale, which preserved reflective eyes that enabled their nighttime hunting in two of the fossils from the extinct spider family Lagonomegopidae (University of Kansas).

The highly reflective Tapetum lucidum (Wikipedia, with images if dissected eyes) is still found in modern spiders, most notably wolf spiders (direct link to image from SpiderzRule.com, "the (self-proclaimed) best site in the world for spider info!!"), but Lagonomegopidae are more similar to modern jumping spiders (Spiderz Rule), which don't feature the reflective tapetum.
posted by filthy light thief (5 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Fossils and spiders! Yeeeeesssss!
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:43 PM on February 20, 2019

oh shale yes
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:53 PM on February 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

I love the photo that shows the fossilized eyes reflecting!
posted by tavella at 4:11 PM on February 20, 2019

This is very, very good.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:43 PM on February 20, 2019

Anyone know what the remains of the tapetum actually consist of? Is the reflection due to the structure being preserved, or the chemical makeup, or what?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:31 PM on February 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

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