Global Arachnid Trade Shows Threat on Biodiversity

A small group of researchers from Thailand, Finland, and China discovered that there is a big and active arachnid trade on the internet.

(Photo : Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The group discusses their research into arachnid commerce via the internet and the potential consequences of so many of the critters being sold throughout the world in an article published in the journal Communications Biology.

Arachnid Diversity

Arachnids are a very diversified but poorly understood species of invertebrates. The variety of spiders, scorpions, and harvestmen is extensively recorded, but the diversity of other orders is unknown.

Although only a few spider genomes have been annotated, genomic data is already being used in phylogenetic studies at the species and higher taxonomic levels.

Also Read: Puppies to Mantises: Study Shows a Shifting Trend for Pet Keepers as People Shows Interest in a More Diverse Market  

Wildlife Trading


(Photo : Photo by v2osk on Unsplash)

Wildlife trading is a crucial cause of biodiversity loss, as the researchers point out-when species are captured and traded, their numbers in the wild decrease.

They also point out that while certain traded animals receive much attention, others, such as invertebrates, are frequently overlooked by the press and social media. The researchers wanted to understand better the worldwide commerce of one species of invertebrate in particular: arachnids.

The researchers went to the source to discover more about the worldwide spider trade: internet postings. They found around 1,264 species for sale or trade due to their efforts. Because they did not track sales on social media platforms, they believe there are considerably more for sale than they discovered.

The bulk of the species for sale was not recognized as being traded by any governing or regulating organization.

Hence all sales were lawful, according to the researchers. They also discovered that vendors who possessed spiders with more colorful attributes-features that usually signal rarity-seemed to get a higher reward.

They also point out that the majority of the specimens they encountered belonged to species with extended lifespans, which is another feature that might put a species in jeopardy.

A Serious Threat


(Photo : Глеб Коровко)

According to the researchers, the massive number of sales poses a serious threat to the survival of many species, particularly those that are already endangered due to other factors such as habitat degradation.

The bulk of specimens they identified online were from the wild, implying that they are not being raised for sale, which adds to the strain on those left behind. According to the team, most of the material used to characterize specimens for sale was also erroneous.

They believe that further research is needed to fully assess the impact of such a large trading sector on arachnids.

Arachnid Dispersion Biology

Arachnid dispersion biology exhibits various patterns, many of which are clade-predictable. As a result, certain clades have become classic instances of vicariant biogeography, while others, such as those sailing on silken sails, maintain active gene flow patterns across continents.

By working together, arachnids can help us better comprehend the Earth’s biogeographic history and the emergence of complex biodiversity hotspots.

Related Article: Exotic Pets Are Now Becoming ‘TikTok Stars,’ But Experts Warn of Unseen Dangers  

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