Melbourne: Scientists claim to have found a new species of trap-door spider -- the albino spider – near Northam in Australia.

The white-headed, black and brown-legged spider about the size of a 50-cent piece is now with the Western Australia Museum.

Senior curator of arachnology Dr Mark Harvey says subtle differences on the pedipalp and front leg of the male indicated it was a new type of spider.

He said: "The pedipalp is used to transfer sperm to the female during mating and the front legs are used to lift her body up.

"Comparing the sizes of the processes and the number of small spines on these structures with other species of white- headed trap-door spiders shows sufficient differences to conclude it is a new species."

Dr Harvey says that the new spider species has a very small natural range that has been affected by land clearing and it may simply be hanging on in small remnant vegetation patches.

"The spiders make burrows in the soil that have tight- fitting trap-door lids. These lids are often difficult to see and the spiders can remain undetected without careful observations. Once the males mature, they leave their burrows and wander in search of females."

While the new spider is yet to be officially named, Dr Harvey says that it adds a small piece to the overall giant biodiversity jigsaw puzzle. "It's cool to see such a strangely coloured spider," he said.