The black market for pet spiders is a sprawling and dangerous web

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If you’re looking for a pet and don’t feel like dogs and cats have enough legs to move around, there’s always the option of a pet spider, available for purchase. on the Web with a single click. They are just one option in the lucrative market for exotic animals smuggled and sold around the world, with greater ease these days thanks to e-commerce and social media. Even video-sharing platforms like YouTube have unwittingly helped normalize exotic pets and encourage their trade.

Scientists, policy makers and concerned citizens have all banded together to counter the trade in exotic animals around the world. But arachnids – the family of creatures that includes spiders and scorpions – have fallen under people’s radar. A new article published Thursday in the journal Nature found that although there are currently 1,264 species of arachnids in trade worldwide, 79% of them are not monitored by international agreements or federal databases.

Arachnids may not seem like much to us, but they are the top predators of the invertebrate world and play a crucial role in the ecosystem. Poaching of these animals in their natural habitats to sell them on the mass market can disrupt biodiversity and environmental stability, and also potentially lead to the outright extinction of some arachnid species, especially those which scientists have not yet discovered and which could be useful to man. innovation.

“[It’s like an] plane – you can remove a few rivets or screws from the wing and you’ll be fine. But take one too many and the plane crashes,” John Losey, an entomologist at Cornell University who has researched the sale of illegal and endangered insects, told The Daily Beast.

The researchers behind the new study examined arachnid trading over the past two decades through an online search of all current and historical arachnid-selling websites they could find. This research was cross-referenced with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the US Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS). Wildlife Service. They not only learned which species were being trafficked, but were also able to identify the 79% that were not included in these databases and were traded without any oversight.

To make matters worse, it appears that most arachnids sold online have been poached directly from the wild rather than farmed. This included nearly 77% of emperor scorpions, a six-inch-long, shiny arachnid native to the jungles of West Africa, one million of which were imported to the United States alone. Nearly 89% of Grammatola Simon 1892 tarantulas in trade (which can measure up to nine inches in length) come from the wild, possibly in violation of sanctions.

“Losing the species of a spider or many other animals is like burning the library book you haven’t read yet.”

— Sergio Henriques, Indianapolis Zoo

Read the full story at: The Daily Beast.

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