Michael Rix with spider specimen in jar

Diversity patterns in Brigalow Belt species

Giant spider species described from Central Queensland

A rare and giant species of trapdoor spider only found in the Brigalow Belt in Central Queensland has been described by Queensland Museum scientists and named Euoplos dignitas.

Euoplos dignitas is a large trapdoor spider that lives in open woodland habitats and builds its burrows in the black soils of the Central Queensland region.

The name of this species is derived from the Latin dignitas meaning dignity or greatness, reflecting the impressive size and nature of the spider. It also pays homage to Project DIG, who supported this research which is vital to understanding Queensland’s biodiversity.

This species is known from only a very few locations around Eidsvold and Monto in Central Queensland and has lost much of its habitat to land clearing, which makes it likely to be an endangered species.

Read the full publication. 

Diversity patterns in Brigalow Belt species

The semi-arid woodlands of the Brigalow Belt formerly occurred across large areas of eastern Queensland, west of the Great Dividing Range. However, these woodlands have been fractured by over 150 years of human development, and now include some of Queensland’s most threatened ecological communities. Yet, they have received relatively little scientific attention, with negligible work in understanding and synthesising patterns of biodiversity. This project will undertake targeted fieldwork across the Brigalow Belt (North) bioregion to build museum collections, enabling us to document new species, understand the ecology and conservation status of endemic species, and test hypotheses about the impacts of past climate change.

Research aims

  1. Describe a new species of giant trapdoor spider from central Queensland.
  2. Undertake an updated conservation assessment of Euoplos grandis (a giant trapdoor spider) from the southern Brigalow Belt.
  3. Undertake surveys and collect new tissue samples to help understand species diversity in lizards in at least four different genera.
  4. Improve our understanding of the ecology of lizard species in the study region, especially the endemic golden-tailed gecko.

Research outcomes

  • Surveys to collect new samples and distributional data for target species of lizard and spider.
  • Preliminary genetic analyses conducted by Honours student Denise Taimi-Karrkainen of two species of gecko from the study area.
  • Assemble initial distributional data for a threatened species assessment of an endemic giant trapdoor spider.
  • Honours project on the ecology and conservation needs of Brigalow geckos species.
  • Two more surveys one focused on lizards, and one focused on a new species of trapdoor spider.
  • Publication of description of new species of Euoplos trapdoor spider from Monto.
  • Submission of threatened species assessment for Euoplos grandis (trapdoor spider).

This research is led by Dr Paul Oliver, Senior Curator Terrestrial Vertebrates (Queensland Museum) and Dr Michael Rix, Principal Scientist (Terrestrial Biodiversity) and Curator of Arachnology (Queensland Museum) in collaboration with DES (Department of Environmental Science) threatened species team and Boobook Consulting, Roma.

What is Project DIG?

Project DIG is a partnership between Queensland Museum, BHP and BMA to transform how we store, explore and share our collections and research with communities worldwide.

Stay up to date with Project DIG #ProjectDIGQM #qldmuseum.

Learn more

Supported by

  • BHP logo
  • Queensland Museum Network and Queensland Government logo

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