ANNAPOLIS, MD—Apologizing profusely for failing to properly confirm their findings before going public, researchers from the Entomological Society of America retracted Tuesday their claims about the discovery of a new species of spider last week, admitting that the supposed arachnid was actually just a clump of dust and hair. “We definitely got a little ahead of ourselves on this one,” said ESA president Michael P. Parrella, noting that the specimen in question, Latrodectus graucus, “absolutely looked like a real spider” and even appeared to scurry away when approached by humans, though this behavior was later attributed to a slight draft from a partially open window. “Shoot, guys. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. We noted in our paper that the cephalothorax resembled a coffee bean, and, well, sure enough, it was. The whole team was shocked when I tried to pick it up and it kind of just fell apart. Live and learn, I guess.” At press time, the researchers had decided to release the wad of detritus back into the wild “just in case.”

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