A new species of tarantula discovered in Angola is quite unlike anything scientists have seen before.
The unusual creature boasts a long, backward-facing horn that juts from its head – and, unlike other so-called unicorn spiders, the Angola species’ protuberance is completely soft.
Researchers say the new tarantula belongs to a group known as the horned baboon spiders, though the purpose of its strange horn is so far still a mystery.
A team with the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project has described the newly discovered species (Ceratogyrus attonitifer) in a new paper, published to the journal African invertebrates.
Researchers discovered several female specimens during surveys in central Angola between 2015 and 2016.
Their burrows were commonly found hidden in tufts of grass, though a few were also found out in the open sand.
After locating a burrow, the researchers waited until nightfall to go back and retrieve the specimens – which were quick to attack anything put in their way.
All that’s currently known about the newly described species comes from the reports of local indigenous people, who refer to it as ‘chandachuly.’