The spelunkers sent specimens to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Entomologists there say the spider – the size of a half dollar – evolved so distinctly that it requires its own taxonomic family – the first new spider family from North America since 1870.
The species name – marchingtoni – honors Douglas County sheriff’s Deputy Dave Marchington, who led scientists to the cave outside Grants Pass.
Academy entomologist Charles Griswold says the spider spins a crude web, but scientists don’t know yet what or how it eats. The discovery is described in the online edition of the journal Zookeys.