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Recognizing the tiny species of any ecosystem is hugely important for defining its overall diversity. But miniscule forms of life are often invisible to conservation efforts because they have yet to be described in detail. Dr. Norman Platnick of the American Museum of Natural History is leading an important initiative to discover biodiversity on a smaller scale. Having devoted decades to the study of spiders, Dr. Platnick now leads a team of 45 investigators from 10 countries in the largest-ever research project on spiders, identifying members of the goblin spider family. This group of spiders is widely distributed but largely unknown, primarily due to their small size—at 1.2-3mm, they measure one-half to one-third the length of the average spider. This video follows Dr. Platnick’s team into the Ecuadorian jungle as they collect and identify scores of unrecognized goblin spiders, showing how little we know about the full breadth of global biodiversity.

This latest Bio Bulletin from the American Museum of Natural History's Science Bulletins program is on display in the Museum's Hall of Biodiversity until February 2013.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Science Bulletins at amnh.org/explore/science-bulletins.

Related Links

The Goblin Spider Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (PBI)

research.amnh.org/oonopidae/

Planetary Biodiversity Inventories

nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=103065

AMNH Center for Biodiversity and Conservation

cbc.amnh.org/

AMNH Biodiversity Informatics Facility

biodiversityinformatics.amnh.org/

Spiders: Alive! Exhibit

amnh.org/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions/spiders-alive

j vimeo.com/46456251

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