New spider species discovered at Johnson County nature preserve

Dec. 5, 2016

New spider species discovered at Johnson County nature preserve

97 acres added to Glacier’s End Nature Preserve

As it announces the closing of a purchase that adds 97 acres to the Glacier’s End Nature Preserve, new-spider-species-oreonetidesthe Central Indiana Land Trust is also celebrating the discovery of a new species on that land.

With the additional land, the Glacier’s End Nature Preserve, a chunk of Johnson County property the Land Trust protected earlier this year, now covers 300 acres. This brings to nearly 700 acres the total amount of Johnson County terrain protected by the Land Trust, which has protected 4,700 acres overall.

Glacier’s End Nature Preserve sits adjacent to two other properties protected by the Central Indiana Land Trust: the Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow and Bob’s Woods Conservation Easement. Together, these properties create a swath of protected contiguous interior forest that provides a home to a variety of native flora and fauna.

It also serves as home to a newly discovered species of spider. University of Indianapolis Professor Marc Milne discovered it on the property while participating in a “bioblitz,” an intensive inventory of plants, animals and fungi. The spiders – tentatively being called Orenoetides sp. since they’re from the genus of the same name – are around 2.5 millimeters in size and live in leaf litter. They add to a number of new and endangered species recently found to be living in the southwest Johnson County area dubbed by the Land Trust as the Hills of Gold Core Conservation Area.

“While some scientists are exploring outer space, it’s amazing to think that we’re still discovering new things on earth, like new species of spiders right here in Central Indiana. The discovery highlights why this type of land protection is necessary,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. “There is still so much to be discovered in the natural areas that surround us, but it will all remain undiscovered if we fail to protect those areas.”

Adding 97 acres to the Glacier’s End Nature Preserve helps to create an even bigger buffer around the forest interior habitat the Central Indiana Land Trust is trying to protect – and that results in greater protection to the flora and fauna that live in that habitat.

“Studies have found that box turtle nests within 100 feet of a forest edge can have zero percent productivity – every egg is eaten by predators,” Chapman said. “Some birds suffer a similar fate. By adding land, and in the near future, planting trees in open areas, we protect the habitats that allow those animals to survive.”

The Land Trust plans to open the Glacier’s End Nature Preserve for public access in 2018, after building trails, educational signage and parking areas big enough for school buses.

Purchasing the additional acreage was possible through support from the following partners:  the Amos Butler Audubon Society, Central Indiana Community Foundation, The Conservation Fund, Efroymson Family Fund, Herbert Simon Family Foundation, Hougham family, Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust, Indiana Heritage Trust (through environmental license plates), Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society, Johnson family, Johnson County Community Foundation, Lamb family, Robert and Gayle Meyer Family Fund, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and members of the Central Indiana Land Trust.

For information on sites open now, visit www.ConservingIndiana.org.

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About the Central Indiana Land Trust

CILTI preserves the best of Central Indiana’s natural areas, protecting plants and animals, so Hoosiers can experience the wonder of the state’s natural heritage. Since it was created in 1990, CILTI has protected more than 4,700 acres of land that meet science-based criteria for conservation value.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Jen Schmits Thomas, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487

INTERVIEW SOURCES:

Cliff Chapman, Executive Director, Central Indiana Land Trust

Dr. Marc Milne, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Indianapolis

Jen Schmits Thomas

Media Relations

An award-winning communicator and recognized leader in Central Indiana’s public relations community, Jen helps us tell our story in the media. She is the founder of JTPR, which she and her husband John Thomas own together.