Published September 15, 2012
A rare spider discovered at a construction site in San Antonio has shut down a $15 million project as federal and state officials consider ways to continue without disrupting the arachnid’s natural habitat.
The spider, identified as a Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver, is an endangered, non-venomous species that lives in caves, has no eyes and is virtually translucent. Josh Donat, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, said the recent discovery is only the second time the species has been spotted in more than 30 years.
"This is the second individual spider that's ever been found,” Donat told FOX 29. “It's not like we found 1 of 5,000 individuals in a species. This is the second time this species has ever been seen by human eyes. The last time it was seen was 32 years ago in 1980 in a little piece of property not far from here."
Donat said the construction project near Highway 151 and Wiseman Road, which began in April, will be put on hold indefinitely as U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials and the Federal Highway Administration consider ways to proceed. The project became subject to the Endangered Species Act once the rare spider was discovered, he said.
The find could halt the project altogether, officials said, as residents who live in the North San Antonio Hills section say they’re frustrated with the situation.
"This will stop all the traffic and I don't have to stand out in the front of my house every morning with my kids and make sure they don't get run over before they catch the bus,” resident John Mellow told the website.