The jumping spider Mexcala monstrata Wesołowska & van Harten, 1994 is recorded for the first time from Egypt and Africa. The record is based only on male specimens. It is the second species of the genus Mexcala in Egypt after Mexcala nigrocyanea (Simon, 1886) known from the Siwa Oasis.
The family Salticidae Blackwall, 1841 is the species-richest spider family containing 6108 species in 636 genera (World Spider Catalog 2019). In Egypt, 74 species from 33 genera are recorded (El-Hennawy 2017). The genus Mexcala was established by Peckham & Peckham (1902) for M. rufa Peckham & Peckham, 1902 from South Africa. Later, they included M. elegans Peckham & Peckham, 1903 from Zimbabwe (Peckham & Peckham 1903) and the third species M. agilis Lawrence, 1928 was described from Namibia (Lawrence 1928). From all of them only males were described. Currently, the genus Mexcala includes 21 species, recorded from Africa, the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Of these, only Mexcala nigrocyanea (Simon, 1886) is known from Egypt from the Siwa Oasis (El-Hennawy 2017). Mexcala monstrata Wesołowska & van Harten, 1994 is hitherto known only from Yemen (Wesołowska 2009, World Spider Catalog 2019). Mexcala monstrata was described from a single adult female (Wesołowska & van Harten 1994). Wesołowska & van Harten (2007) first described the male and redescribed the female from Yemen. Wesołowska (2009) provided a revision of the genus Mexcala. The aim of the present paper is to report newly found specimens of M. monstrata from Egypt.
Material and methods
The specimens in this paper are part of the Ph.D. thesis collection by Amr El-Gendy. All specimens were collected by hand aspirator, are preserved in 75% ethanol and deposited at the Faculty of Agriculture, Al-Azhar University, Egypt. For study an OPTIKA SZM-2 Stereomicroscope was used. Digital photographs were taken using a ToupCam S3CMOS Microscope camera.
The identification of M. monstrata is based on the descriptions, drawings and photographs in Wesołowska & van Harten (1994, 2007) and Wesołowska (2009). One male pedipalp was removed for study. Terminology follows Jocqué & Dippenaar-Schoeman (2006). Length of prosoma, legs and opisthosoma were measured (Tabs 1-2). All measurements are given in millimetres.
Family Salticidae Blackwall, 1841
Genus Mexcala Peckham & Peckham, 1902
Specimens examined. EGYPT, Menoufiya, El-Sadat City, Al-Azhar University, Farm of Faculty of Agriculture, Orchards of peach and pomegranate (30.42028°N, 30.54296°E, 29 m a.s.l.), 20. Nov. 2016: 1 ♂, 25. Dec. 2016: 1 subadult ♂(died before moulted to adult), 15. Jun. 2017: 1 ♂, 12. Mar. 2017: 1 ♂, leg. A. El-Gendy.
Description of male. General appearance as in Fig. 1a slender spider with long legs. Prosoma pear-shaped, widest posteriorly, coloured dark brown, clothed with delicate short brilliant hairs as in Fig. 1c. Opisthosoma elongated, pointed posteriorly, orange with a brown anterior margin and a narrow transverse band halfway along its length, sometimes opisthosoma blackish at posterior margin (Fig. 1). Spinnerets orange-brownish. Legs thin and very long, legs IV longest, femora brown, tarsi whitish-yellow, remaining segments orange with brown lines along lateral surfaces. Palpal organ as in Figs 2-5, and measurements as in Tabs 1-2.
Mexcala monstrata was known only from Yemen (Wesołowska 2009, World Spider Catalog 2019). This is the first record of the species for Egypt and for Africa. Twenty of the 21 species of Mexcala are known from Africa now (Wesołowska 2009, World Spider Catalog 2019) – and the last one (Mexcala farsensis Logunov, 2001, decribed from Iran) is misplaced in the genus according to Wesołowska (2009: 185).
Measurements of Mexcala monstrata TL = total length, PL = prosoma length, PW = prosoma width, OL = opisthosoma length, OW = opisthosoma width
Measurements of leg segments of Mexcala monstrata Wesołowska & van Harten, 1994
The authors sincerely thank Hisham K. El-Hennawy, Egyptian arachnologist (editor of SERKET “The Arachnological Bulletin of the Middle East and North Africa”) for great help in this work, encouragment and support, for his help in determining spiders and helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. We would like to thank Petr Dolejš (editor of the Arachnologische Mitteilungen), Wanda Wesołowska and Dmitri Logunov (reviewers) for their valuable comments and corrections that improved the paper.