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The Auburn Tiger Trapdoor Spider: A new species discovered from a college town backyard

AUBURN – Researchers at Auburn University have discovered a new species of trapdoor spider in a well-developed housing subdivision in the heart of the city of Auburn, Ala. Myrmekiaphila tigris, affectionately referred to as the Auburn Tiger Trapdoor Spider, is named in honor of Auburn University’s costumed tiger mascot, Aubie.

The research team, directed by biological sciences professor Jason Bond, lead investigator and director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, and Charles Ray, a research fellow in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, was excited at the prospect of such a remarkable find just underfoot. Bond and Ray actually live in the neighborhood where the new species was discovered.

Myrmekiaphila tigris belongs to a genus that contains 11 other species of trapdoor spider found throughout the eastern United States and includes the now-famous species Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, from Birmingham, Ala., named for Canadian rocker Neil Young.

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