The poisonous creature, named Number 16 was 43 years old and had outlived the world's next-oldest spider, a tarantula in Mexico, by a whopping 15 years.
The spider - known fondly as "Number 16" - had been studied by researchers since 1974, before her untimely death. Mason informed that through Barbara's detailed research, they were able to find out that the high longevity of the trapdoor spiders is due to their life-history traits which include how they dwell in uncleared, native bushland, their low metabolism, and their sedentary nature.
Trapdoor spiders are hairy tropical spiders up to 1.5 inches long (4 cm) that nest underground. No. 16 was last seen alive in the spring of 2016, but when researchers checked on her in October of that year, they found that a parasitic wasp had infiltrated the burrow, which was already falling into disrepair.
The carnivorous species - part of the mygalomorph infraorder of stout-legged spiders that includes tarantulas - is found in Australia, Japan, Africa, South America, North America, and in other warm regions.
"Number 16 was out in the bush, which is even more impressive because we all know that animals living captivity can live longer, perhaps, than those in the wild", Mason said. "We're really miserable about it".
"These spiders exemplify an approach to life in ancient landscapes, and through our ongoing research we will be able to determine how the future stresses of climate change and deforestation will potentially impact the species", Associate Professor Wardell-Johnson said.
The lifespan of a trapdoor spider is between five and 20 years. York Main, the researcher who launched the study, is now 88 years old. The specimen was female and, like many of her cohorts, was very large.