Tiny thing on eight legs

LEON Baert and Rudy Jocque have found the world's smallest known female spider (Anapistula caecula) in the Ivory Coast's Tai Forest Reserve. The 0.46 mm long female members of this new species easily beat the previous record of 0.59 mm held by the Colombian forest spider Patu digua (BBC Wildlife, Vol 12, No 2).

An even greater record is probably waiting in the wings as male spiders are generally smaller than females. The male of A. caecula is likely to beat the current champion micro-male, P. digua, which measures 0.37 mm.