The world’s oldest spider has died at the age of 43 after being attacked by a wasp, according to scientists in Perth, Australia.
The 43-year-old female Giaus Villosus trapdoor spider was known as “Number 16,” to researchers from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University who published their findings in the in April.
The research on the spider population in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia began back in 1974 when Barbara York Main, who is now 88 years old, discovered Number 16 shortly after the spider was born.
“To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behaviour and population dynamics,” Leanda Mason, a PhD student at Curtin University and lead author of the report, .
“Through Barbara’s detailed research, we were able to determine that the extensive life span of the trapdoor spider is due to their life-history traits, including how they live in uncleared, native bushland, their sedentary nature and low metabolisms.”
Number 16 is believed to have outlived the previous record-holder—a 28-year-old pet tarantula in Mexico—by 15 years by remaining in the same burrow for her entire life, only emerging to ambush small prey as they pass by.
“We’re really miserable about it,” Mason about Number 16’s death. “We were hoping she could have made it to 50 years old.”