Astragalos are a group of plants that live in the tropical forests of southeastern Australia.
They have long been thought to have some connection to the plant-eating, spider-eating moths that make up most of the Astragus species.
But the study published in the journal Current Biology found that Astrags may be in fact unrelated to spiders.
“The fact that the Astra-galo species is a very common, widely distributed species, and that the association of Astraginaceae with spiders and moths is not well known, is a really interesting finding,” said lead author Andrea Kallberg, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
“It is also a very exciting discovery, because we are starting to see a lot of potential for finding new species.”
Astragales, which are native to South America, are known for their striking patterns and their resemblance to the spider-like moth, Astrigalus.
While spiders are known to eat Astragiaceae, the Astro-galli are known as the spider moths, because of their unusual pattern of hairs on their bodies.
In the past, scientists have linked spiders to Astragos, and many Astraguas were named after the spider, according to the Australian Museum.
However, in the new study, researchers found that the two species are not related to spiders, and found that both species are actually native to the southeastern Australian desert.
“I think that the results are quite surprising,” said Kallenberg.
“We had assumed that spiders and Astragyaceae were related to each other because they are both found in the same geographic area.
This shows that spiders can be very closely related to Agragales.”
Kallberg and her colleagues say the results suggest that there is still much more research to be done on the relationships between these two plant species.
“We are interested in the ecology of Agrags and Astraaginaceae, and the possible evolutionary relationships that may exist between them,” Kallburg said.
“But at the moment, the only evidence we have is from the study of the spiders, which has been a very difficult task because they don’t seem to survive in Australia, so we need to continue studying the Agraginaceae to see if we can discover more.”
The research was funded by the Australian Research Council and the Australian National University.