According to the Sri Lanka Sunday Times, a new species of tarantula has been discovered there. This tree-dwelling spider has a leg diameter of about eight inches.
“The spider is a smaller member of the Bird-Eating Tarantula sub-species found in South America that can kill animals as large as lizards, mice, birds and small snakes. Lead researcher Ranil Nanayakkara said his team needed to find live specimens, preferably females and juveniles, to establish whether the Mankulam spider was indeed a species new to science by the researchers.
“His team had to comb pockets of jungles in the area, searching every single tree hole and bark peel that could possibly house this elusive species. The researchers finally managed to find a female spider of the species, along with her babies, in the old doctors’ quarters of Mankulam hospital.”
Mr. Nanayakkara says in the Times article that the spider’s venom will not cause death in humans, but will cause pain and muscle spasms. That is similar to the common desert tarantula in Arizona.
See a short YouTube video of the spider: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv-lt9mKEDA