The new nanofiber made by UNL is even stronger than this spider silk (Photo : Reuters)
An endangered species of spider, which has not been seen in more than 30 years, may derail a highway project in San Antonio, Texas, the San Antonio Express reported.
The eyeless spider, called the Braken Bat Cave meshweaver, was discovered by a biologist after rain exposed a 6 feet-deep natural hole in the highway's median, the newspaper said.
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Construction of the $15.1 million highway project on Texas 151 at Loop 1604 was halted last week after the discovery was made. According to the San Antonio Express, the endangered spider was added to the federal species list in 2000 and had not been seen since 1980.
Finding the spider was like "stumbling on a new Galapagos Island in terms of the biological significance of the region," biologist Jean Krejca told the San Antonio Express.
After the discovery, the spider was collected and dissected to be identified, Krejca said. According to the San Antonio Express, biologists have been working with construction crews due to the area's abundance of natural resources. Biologists identified nineteen cave features, the report stated.
The spider discovery could mean major delays for the underpass construction, the San Antonio Express said. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the Federal Highway Administration approved the original construction plan, the agencies will now have to re-evaluated the plan.
TxDOT San Antonio District spokesman Josh Donat told the San Antonio Express it was too early to tell if the project would continue, be modified or discarded altogether.
In the meantime, biologists have covered the hole where the endangered spider was found to preserve its habitat in case other spiders exist.