Discovery of the critically endangered tarantula species of the genus Poecilotheria (Araneae: Theraphosidae), Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica, from Sri Lanka
Ranil P. Nanayakkara, G.A.S.M Ganehiarachchi, Nilantha Vishvanath, T.G. Tharaka Kusuminda
The arboreal spiders in the genus Poecilotheria is represented by 16 species and restricted to India and Sri Lanka. Each country has eight endemic species. During a survey on mygalomorph spiders in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, the critically endangered species of Theraphosidae Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica was discovered for the first time outside of its native habitat in India, expanding its range to northern Sri Lanka. The discovery of P. hanumavilasumica is unique, as it used to be a critically endangered and endemic species of the genus Poecilotheria found in India, and it is evident that during the land bridge connection between India and Sri Lanka, when the Pleistocene epoch biotic exchange took place between the two countries, taxa were dispersed through the land connections.