Feds leave eyeless spider to fend for itself

An eyeless spider has been blindsided by federal regulators.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday it will not issue new protections for a small species of spiders without eyes, known as Warton’s cave mesh weaver or Cicurina wartoni. 

Animal conservation groups had petitioned the FWS to add the eyeless spider to the Endangered Species List, but the agency determined it is not distinct enough from other types of spiders to warrant its own protections. 

“Cicurina wartoni is an eyeless, cave-endemic spider known only from a single geographic location, a privately owned, shallow cave known as Pickle Pit, in Travis County, Texas,” the FWS wrote in the Federal Register.

“Cicurina derived from surface-dwelling ancestors with eight eyes, and are mostly smaller than their ancestors and are progressively losing or have lost their eyes,” it added.

The FWS had been considering whether to protect these eyeless spiders since 1994.