Door opens on research
Scientists use Eidsvold resident’s grandfather’s work in new trapdoor spider study
EIDSVOLD’S Evelyn and Tom Bancroft have helped link trapdoor spider research across a generation.
They hosted two visiting scientists recently who were seeking to understand work that had been carried out by Mr Bancroft’s grandfather between 1910-1930.
His grandfather, also Dr Tom Bancroft, was a pioneering early researcher of trapdoor spiders, and his work has provided a critical link in a three-year Australia-wide
Dr Michael Rix
We found all six species (in Eidsvold) in just a few hours, and we will now use molecular-level analysis to confirm their identification.
study into trapdoor spiders by Dr Michael Rix and PhD student Sophie Harrison.
The University of Adelaide andWestern Australian Museum scientists agree Dr Bancroft’s knowledge is the foundation of what is known about trapdoor spiders found in this area.
The doctor was in the Eidsvold area for 20 years and, when he was not working as a medical officer, he collected biological specimens to send to the Australian museum in Sydney.
Dr Bancroft collected six species of local trapdoor spiders in that time and one, the aganippe bancrofti, was named after him.
“It was critical for us to collect the same species from the same parts of Eidsvold Dr Bancroft would have worked, to provide some context behind this understanding,” Dr Rix said.
He said there were hundreds of species of trapdoor spiders around Australia, many that had not yet been catalogued.
He said their study would help them confirm if these same species were found anywhere else.
“We found all six species (in Eidsvold) in just a few hours, and we will now use molecular-level analysis to confirm their identification,” he said.
Results will be published in the next 18 months.
Local hosts Evelyn and Tom Bancroft were happy to be able to provide such a big help for the visiting scientists.
“It was lovely to have such enthusiastic people, we showed them Dr Tom’s old microscope and they were just rapt with it,” Evelyn said.
STUDY: Evelyn and Tom Bancroft, the grandson of pioneering scientist Dr Tom Bancroft, hosted Dr Michael Rix and PhD student Sophie Harrison on their Eidsvold property last month, so they could delve further into the research of trapdoor spiders.