The Giaus Villsus trapdoor spider was first found living in Western Australia in 1974 by researcher Barbara York Main.
Main, now 88, was herself unable to follow the research through to its conclusions so the project was taken up by Leanda Mason who continued to study the arachnid using tiny cameras inside its burrow.
One of the secrets to the spider’s long life was its sedentary lifestyle, as it rarely moved from its hole.
The spider’s cause of death is unknown, as researchers are unwilling to disturb the burrow, but Mason told Euronews a hole in its body could have been caused by a wasp laying its eggs inside, leading to the larvae eating the spider from the inside once they hatched.
The age of the spider illustrates the necessity to perform long-term research projects to see how human and natural environmental changes will impact species, the researchers said.
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