This spider species was discovered by Ayush Parag, an Integrated MSc student, and his MSc thesis supervisor Aniruddha Datta Roy from the School of Biological Sciences, NISER. They collaborated with Indian jumping spider expert John TD Caleb from Chennai.
Official sources said the new species was found during a monitoring project aimed at documenting and understanding spider biodiversity on the campus. Parag began the project two years ago and has been conducting regular surveys since then.
The discovery of Siler niser highlights the importance of grasslands as habitats for a variety of organisms. “Grasslands and other open habitats are often ignored, destroyed, and labelled unproductive. They are critical ecosystems and can contain unique biota, as seen from our discovery,” said Parag. The spider was found on the grasslands inside the NISER campus, which had not been previously studied in detail for their biodiversity.
The description of this new spider species has been published in the scientific journal, Zoosystematics and Evolution, and is expected to contribute to a better understanding of the biodiversity of the NISER campus and Odisha as a whole.
“Discovering a new species is always exciting, especially when it comes from an area that has not been thoroughly explored before,” said Datta Roy”, adding, “I hope our research encourages others to explore and study the unique habitats in and around the NISER campus.”
The discovery of Siler niser is a testament to the value of student-led research projects and the importance of preserving natural habitats for future generations, said a statement issued by the NISER Bhubaneswar on Sunday.