April 30 (UPI) — A team of Australian scientists said they were “really miserable” to discover the world’s oldest-known spider was killed by a wasp sting at the age of 43.
Leanda Mason, lead author of the Curtin University study published in the Pacific Conservation Biology Journal, said the female trapdoor spider, known as Number 16, was 43 years old when it was killed by a wasp sting at its burrow in the wild.
The previous record-holder for oldest spider was a 28-year-old Mexican tarantula documented by researchers.
“We’re really miserable about it,” Mason told The Daily Telegraph of the spider’s death. “We were hoping she could have made it to 50 years old.”
Female trapdoor spiders tend to remain in the areas around their burrows for their entire lives, allowing Number 16 to be studied in the wild.
“To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behavior and popular dynamics,” Mason said in a Curtin University news release.
Barbara York Main, 88, who was Mason’s teacher, began studying Number 16 shortly after the spider’s birth in 1974.
“Through Barbara’s detailed research,” Mason said, “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.”