Rare Spider Species Discovered at Missouri American Water Plant
September 06, 2019 at 17:16 PM EDT
If you’re a spider that loves eating mosquitoes and gnats, you would be hard-pressed to find a better home than a water treatment plant.
Apparently that is the case for the species crossopriza lyoni, which has been found at Missouri American Water’s Central Plant in Chesterfield on the banks of the Missouri River. It is only the second documented location of the spider in the St. Louis area, after the Missouri Botanical Garden.
“The water treatment plant provides a humid, stable environment in which this species, only recently found in Missouri, can thrive,” said David Bruns of the Missouri Department of Conservation. “Although this introduced species is native to Asia, it is apparently serving a role to biologically control unwanted insect pests within the water treatment facility.”
Using the mobile application (app) iNaturalist, which encourages “citizen-scientists” to map and share observations of biodiversity around the world, Missouri American Water Senior Water Quality and Environmental Compliance Specialist Hannah Korte-Runge photographed the spider that has become recognizable at the plant.
“These spiders build large, rather ugly webs and we see them all over the place at the plant,” Korte-Runge said. “The Missouri American Water Green Team recently welcomed Jean Ponzi of the Missouri Botanical Garden for a presentation, and she turned us on to the iNaturalist app. Since then, I’ve been documenting some of the plants and insects I come across at the plant and uploading them to the app, and it turns out this particular spider is rare in St. Louis outside our grounds.”
Crossopriza lyoni has a small body with long legs, similar to the more common “daddy longlegs” and are harmless to humans.
Missouri American Water
Missouri American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.5 million people.
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.