There are routinely lists of the world’s largest animals, largest trees, largest mammals. Usually blue whales, elephants, and the giant sequoia end up in some place on these. Then there is the wrinkle of when these animals lived. Dinosaurs have fascinated humans for centuries. People still hunt parts of the world for fossils. Museums have paper mache replicas of dinosaurs even though they died out 65 million years ago. Every few years, a scientist finds a new “largest dinosaur.” Then there is a debate about how “large” is defined. With the release of the “Jurassic World” series of movies, people get to imagine humans and dinosaurs can live together. That is, unfortunately, until the dinosaurs eat the humans.
Not much is written about the smallest animal in the world. It is another list that has changed from time to time.
According to Safaris Africana, this smallest animal is the spruce-fir moss spider. It is only four millimeters long. That is .16 inches. The publication points out the spider is not in a smallest class by itself. “There are literally millions of animal species smaller than humans, and many of those species are no bigger than a human hand.”
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s ECOS Environmental Conservation Online System reports that the spruce-fir moss spider may disappear soon. It is on the endangered species list. It lives, or has lived in the area of North Carolina and Tennessee. A map of its domain shows the area is extremely small.
The National Wildlife Federation has issued a paper titled “Farewell to the World’s Smallest Tarantula?” about the spruce-fir moss spider. It indicates the spruce-fir moss spider can only live in a rare environment. The authors report “The spruce-fir moss spider lives only beneath emerald green moss mats that cling to boulders at high elevations, typically above 5,300 feet.”
The world’s smallest animal will not lose its place because scientists discover something smaller. It will drop off the list because it simply goes away.
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