The goals of this study are 1) to present the results of a new faunistic survey carried out during short, mainly spring vacation trips, through four years (2012–2014 and 2017) in different sites in Albania; 2) to present digital images of some poorly illustrated and difficult to identify species; 3) to make a contribution to the available knowledge of the Albanian spider fauna. Despite the material being collected without prior methodology and almost exclusively by hand, overall, 1231 individuals were collected and identified. A total of 242 species were registered, belonging to 131 genera and 30 families. Two species (Philodromus buchariKubcová, 2004 and Synema ornatum (Thorell, 1875)) are reported for the first time from the Balkan Peninsula, and 67 species and 15 genera are the first records for Albania. Thus, the actual number of Albanian spiders increased to 569 species.
Although the first reports for Albanian spiders date from the 19th century (Simon 1878), the spider fauna of the country is still poorly investigated. Deltshev et al. (2011) compiled all available faunistic data about Albanian spiders and listed 335 species from 36 families. Significant contributions during the last decade were presented by Vrenozi (2012), Vrenozi & Deltshev (2012a, 2012b), Vrenozi & Jäger (2012, 2013), Vrenozi & Dunlop (2013), Helsdingen & IJland (2015), Naumova et al. (2016), Blick (2018), Helsdingen et al. (2018), Komnenov (2018), Deltshev & Indzhov (2018) and Naumova (2020), and the number of species reached 502. The goal of this study is to present the results of a new faunistic survey carried out during short vacation trips throughout four years, to present digital images of some poorly illustrated and difficult to identify species, and to make a contribution to the available knowledge of the Albanian spider fauna.
Material and methods
The examined material was collected purposefully but without prior methodology, almost exclusively by hand and exceptionally by beating at different localities in Albania, between 28. May and 31. July in the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017. The specimens were preserved in 70% ethanol and deposited in the collection of the National Museum – Natural History Museum, Prague (NMP). Nomenclature follows the World Spider Catalog (2019). The digital images of spiders were taken with a Lumix digital camera attached to Wild M5A stereomicroscope and prepared with Photoshop CS6 software. The list (alphabetically) of the localities (by districts) and related data [such as approximate geographical coordinates (decimal), altitude, date, collector, UTM-code 10 km × 10 km, habitat and collecting method] are given in Tab. 1. In most localities the material was collected in total in two or more habitats or at the boundaries between them and they are marked as ‘div’ (Tab. 1, Figs 3-14). The sites were mapped on the basis of exact or approximate geographic coordinates and were visualized on the map of Albania (Figs 1, 2) in the projection coordinate system „WGS 84 UTM 34N“. When two (or more) localities were very close to each other, they were artificially separated (during the map visualization process) to enable a clearer presentation on the map. Mapping and visualization of the map were done with the software ArcGIS 10.1 (ESRI, Redlands, California, USA).
Abbreviations used in the text include: j/jj – juvenile/s, Mts – mountains.
The localities in Albania where spiders have been collected, the districts are in bold. Loc. the number used in Fig. 2 and Tab. 2; Lat°N and Long°E – geographical coordinates (decimal); Alt – altitude in m a.s.l.; Leg – collectors: AK – A. Kůrka, IR – I. Rus, LB – L. Blažej, PM – P. Moravec; UTM – code 10 km × 10 km; div – material coming from diverse habitats; M – collecting method: b – beating, hp – hand picking.
Overall, 1231 spiders (439 ♂♂, 690 ♀♀ and 102 jj) were collected and identified. A total of 242 species were registered, belonging to 131 genera and 30 families (Tab. 2). Number of species per family: Agelenidae – 2, Araneidae – 18, Cheiracanthiidae – 4, Clubionidae – 1, Dictynidae – 1, Dysderidae – 6, Eresidae – 2, Gnaphosidae – 30, Hahniidae – 1, Linyphiidae – 34, Lycosidae – 33, Mimetidae – 1, Miturgidae – 3, Oecobiidae – 1, Oxyopidae – 2, Philodromidae – 15, Pholcidae – 2, Phrurolithidae – 2, Pisauridae – 1, Salticidae – 26, Scytodidae – 1, Segestriidae – 1, Sparassidae – 2, Tetragnathidae – 4, Theridiidae – 21, Thomisidae – 20, Titanoecidae – 3, Trachelidae – 1, Uloboridae – 1 and Zodariidae – 3. One species was identified only to the genus level. Two species are reported from the Balkan Peninsula for the first time and 67 species and 15 genera are the first records for Albania.
List of the recorded spider species in Albania, as a result of the present survey. Asterisk (*) – species new to Albania. Families and species are listed alphabetically. See Tab. 1 for locality numbers.
Interesting and remarkable records
Dysderocrates storkani is a Balkan endemic previously known from Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia (Blagoev 2002, Deltshev et al. 2003, Deltshev et al. 2011, Grbac et al. 2019, Naumova et al. 2019). Identification: Deeleman-Reinhold & Deeleman (1988).
Harpactea srednagora was recorded from a few localities in Bulgaria: Belasitsa Mts, Ihtimanska & Sashtinska Sredna Gora Mts, Pirin Mts, Ruj Mts, Slavyanka Mts, Sofia plain, Vitosha Mts and Western Rhodopes Mts (Antov et al. 2004, Dimitrov & Lazarov 1999, Deltshev et al. 2011, 2012, Langourov et al. 2014), and North Macedonia: Osogovo Mts (Komnenov 2014). The new record from Krrabe Mts in Albania greatly expands the known distribution to the west. Identification: Lazarov (2007).
Anagraphis ochracea can be regarded as South Balkan endemic known from Albania, Greece, European Turkey and North Macedonia (Deltshev et al. 2011, Bosmans 2014, Demircan & Topçu 2015). Identification: Chatzaki et al. (2002).
Nomisia levyi was hitherto known only from Greece. The species was described from Attika (Greece) from a single male. The female is described and illustrated with photos by Helsdingen et al. (2018). Our material corresponds well to the description of the species. Photos of the male (illustrated in the original description by drawings) are added (Fig. 15, Fig. 16). The species was found in different rocky habitats. Identification: Chatzaki (2010a), Helsdingen et al. (2018).
Nomisia peloponnesiaca is described and known only from two localities in Peloponnese (Greece). The new record in Albania is about 500 km northward from the known localities and suggests that wider distribution within the Balkans can be expected. The presented photos of the female (Fig. 17) correspond well with the drawings in the description (Chatzaki 2010a). Found on rocky slopes together with Nomisia levyi and N. exornata. Identification: Chatzaki (2010a).
Trachyzelotes adriaticus is distributed from Italy to China (World Spider Catalog 2019). In the Balkans it is known only from Croatia and Greece (Korfu isl.) (Platnick & Murphy 1984, Chatzaki 2010b). Identification: Platnick & Murphy (1984), Chatzaki (2010b).
Araeoncus humilis is a new genus and species for Albania. Distributed in Europe, North Africa, Russia (Europe to South Siberia), Japan; introduced to New Zealand (World Spider Catalog 2019). Identification: Wiehle (1960), Deltshev (1987).
Entelecara acuminata is a new genus and species for Albania. Known to occur in the USA, Europe, Russia (Europe to South Siberia), and Central Asia (World Spider Catalog 2019). Identification: Wiehle (1960).
Erigonoplus simplex is hitherto known from France, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece (Millidge 1979, Blagoev et al. 2018, Helsdingen et al. 2018, Pantini & Isaia 2019). Identification: Millidge (1979), Helsdingen et al. (2018)
Oedothorax paludigena is known from France (incl. Corsica), Italy (incl. Sardinia), Greece (Millidge 1975, Tanasevitch 2011, Bosmans & Colombo 2015, Pantini & Isaia 2019). Our material comes from different habitats close to the seaside, which seems to agree with the known habitats of the species (banks of lagoons, coastal and salt marshes (Tanasevitch 2011, Bosmans & Colombo 2015)). Identification: Millidge (1975), Bosmans (1985).
Palliduphantes trnovensis is a Balkan endemic, known mainly from the caves of Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia (Deeleman-Reinhold 1986, Blagoev 2002, Deltshev et al. 2003, Vrenozi & Jäger 2013, Blagoev et al. 2018, Naumova et al. 2019). The species is regarded as troglophile (Deltshev 1972, 1976, Mammola et al. 2018), but was also found in the detritus of forests in Serbia and Montenegro (Deeleman-Reinhold 1986). Therefore, its establishment in forests in Albania is not surprising. Identification: Deltshev (1980).
Trichoncoides piscator is distributed in Europe, North Africa, Turkey, Caucasus, Russia (Europe to South Siberia), Kazakhstan, Iran, Central Asia (World Spider Catalog 2019). Identification: Tanasevitch & Piterkina (2012).
Pardosa atomaria is known from the Balkans, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus and Ukraine (World Spider Catalog 2019) and is a typical riparian species (Buchar & Thaler 2002, present paper). Herein is the second country report of the species (after Blagoev 2005), but because of the possible synonymy with P. tatarica (Thorell, 1875) with unclear validity of the latter (see Buchar & Thaler 2002, Helsdingen et al. 2018), we argue that the previous record of P. tatarica by Caporiacco (1932) is actually the first mention of P. atomaria for Albania. Identification: Buchar & Thaler (2002).
Philodromus buchari seems to be new for the Balkan Peninsula and consequently, for Albania. However, its occurrence is not unexpected given its presence in Austria (Milaszowsky et al. 2015), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Kubcová 2004), France (Lecigne 2018), Hungary (Mezőfi & Markó 2019), Spain (Crespo et al. 2018), Belgium, Danmark, Netherlands, United Kingdom (Nentwig et al. 2019), Germany and Turkey (Muster & Thaler 2004). Records in Central Europe assigned to P. longipalpis belong to P. buchari (Blick 2011). The presented photos of the male correspond well with illustrations of Central European specimens in the taxonomic literature (Kubcová 2004, Mezőfi & Markó 2019) and will contribute to better knowledge of the species (Fig. 18). Found in an oak forest, like most of the data concerning Czech Republic (Kubcová 2004). Identification: Kubcová 2004, Muster & Thaler (2004), Mezőfi & Markó 2019.
Philodromus fuscolimbatus is found in Algeria, Croatia, Greece, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey (Chyzer & Kulczyński 1891, Muster & Thaler 2004, Branco et al. 2019). The presented photos of the male correspond well with the drawings in Muster & Thaler (2004) and will contribute to better taxonomic knowledge of the species (Fig. 19). Identification: Muster & Thaler (2004).
Philodromus krausi is known from Greece and Turkey (Muster & Thaler 2004, Komnenov et al. 2016). The examined females differ in some aspects both from the original diagnosis and the drawings but they were collected together with males of P. krausi and no other species were found at the site, so there is no doubt on their conspecificity (Fig. 20). Identification: Muster & Thaler (2004).
Philodromus longipalpis is known from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Crete, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Italy, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey (Chyzer & Kulczyński 1891, Braun 1965, Segers 1992, Weiss & Petrişor 1999, Blagoev 2002, Muster & Thaler 2004, Kubcová 2004, Logunov & Huseynov 2008, Branco et al. 2019, Pfliegler 2014, Kostanjšek & Kuntner 2015, Ponomarev et al. 2018, Mezőfi & Markó 2019) and probably Serbia (as “Yugoslavia” in Kubcová (2004) without location). The examined specimen differs slightly from most typical P. longipalpis in having relatively smaller spermathecae with inwardly curved posterior parts and the distance between them standing at approximately half their width. However, the long, strongly curved and ante-riorly converging copulatory ducts, the bottle shaped median plate and the low, moderately wide glandular mounds of the spermathecae, as well as the pale body coloration support its identification as P. longipalpis (Fig. 21). Found on rocky slopes together with P. lunatus. Identification: Segers (1992), Muster & Thaler (2004).
Philodromus lunatus is reported from Croatia, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey (Muster & Thaler 2004, Bosmans et al. 2019). The examined specimens completely lack a transverse ridge behind the atrium, visible even on an undissected epigyne. Both the vulva and the epigyne correspond well to the drawings in the original description so, even in the absence of males, the identification is certain (Fig. 22). Found on rocky slopes together with P. longipalpis. Identification: Muster & Thaler (2004).
Ariadna sp. is a new genus for Albania. According to the known distribution of the European Ariadna species, the subadult female from our material could belong to either A. insidiatrix Audouin, 1826 (Mediterranean) or A. ionica O. P.Cambridge, 1873 (Korfu isl., Greece, known only from a single male) species. However, at this point we think it is more correct to leave the taxon at the genus level, until some adult specimens become available.
Olios argelasius is a new genus and species for Albania. It is a Mediterranean species introduced to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Poland (World Spider Catalog 2019). Identification: Jäger et al. (2011).
Synema ornatum is described from southern European Russia and reported from Hungary, Ukraine, Russia (Europe, Caucasus) and Azerbaijan (World Spider Catalog 2019). The new record from Albania is the westernmost site of the species distribution and first record from the Balkans. Photos of the male which correspond well with the existing illustrations (Utochkin 1960) are added (Fig. 23). Identification: Utochkin (1960).
Trachelas minor represents a new genus record for Albania. Distributed across the Mediterranean to Central Asia, West Africa and Cyprus (Bosmans et al. 2019). Identification: Marusik & Kovblyuk (2010).
As can be seen from the results above (Tab. 2), the families with most species new for Albania are Linyphiidae (15), followed by Philodromidae (10), Lycosidae (9), Thomisidae (7), Gnaphosidae (6) and Theridiidae (5). It may seem that the number of new records for Albania is very high, however the study area is large and diverse and most of the species were already known from the surrounding countries (Nentwig et al. 2019), thus the presence of the numerous species new to the fauna of Albania was expected. The range of some unrecorded species turned out to be much larger than was originally known, for instance Synema ornatum and Philodromus buchari, which are the first reports from the Balkan Peninsula. In addition to these species new to Albania, we also found several rare and under-recorded species, such as some Balkan endemics (Anagraphis ochracea, Dysdera bellimundi, Harpactea nausicaae), and subendemic (Theridion adrianopoli), for which there are still insufficient data.
With the 67 species presented here as new to Albania, the actual number now equals 569, but these results represent only a part of what could be expected for the country. Currently, it is impossible to provide a correct estimate of real diversity of the Albanian spiders, but considering the climate and landscape diversity, and the moderate research intensity, we can expect at least twice as many species.
Study expeditions to Albania were organized by members of the “Zoogeos Bohemia – Society for the research and protection of animals”(Czech Republic),to whom we are grateful for assistance in field collections,namely Lukáš Blažej (National History Museum in Česká Lípa),Pavel Moravec (Nature Conservation Agency,Regional Office Litoměřice),Ivo Rus (Regional Museum in Kolín) and Pavel Vonička (North Bohemian Museum in Liberec).Special thanks to the director of the Museum of National History in Česká Lípa, Zdeněk Vitáček, for helping with the provision of transport. We would like to thank also Petr Dolejš (NMP) for making the material available.The research was partially supported by the project “Cybertaxonomic approach to phylogenetic studies of model invertebrate genera (Invertebrata, Arachnida, Insecta), clarifying the problems of origin, formation and conservation of the Invertebrate Fauna of the Balkan Peninsula” (National Science Fund,Ministry of Education,Youth and Science of the Republic of Bulgaria, Grant KP-06-H21/1-17.12.2018).