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We describe a new species of the genus Otiothops MacLeay, 1839 (Palpimanidae), O. alayoni n. sp., from the Sierra Maestra mountain range in eastern Cuba, representing only the second species of the genus from the Greater Antilles. The new species is diagnosed from other species of the genus, and compared in detail with the Cuban O. walckenaeri Macleay, 1839. All specimens of the new species were collected by sifting leaf litter in montane rainforest.
Four new species of theridiid spiders in the genus PhoroncidiaWestwood, 1835 are described from Madagascar: Phoroncidia wrightae sp. nov., Phoroncidia vatoharanana sp. nov., Phoroncidia roseleviorum sp. nov., and Phoroncidia ambatolahy sp. nov. Additionally, the male of Phoroncidia aurata O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1877 is described and imaged for the first time. New images are also included for the type species of the genus, Phoroncidia aculeataWestwood, 1835. The present study describes the first new species of Phoroncidia from Madagascar since 1913 and increases the number of described Phoroncidia from Madagascar from three to seven species.
Gumfoot threads attached to the substrate may allow spiders to retain prey. These threads were recently discovered in adult females of Pholcidae spiders, and are similar to those in Theridiidae. We report for the first time the presence of gumfoot threads in the webs of immature spiders (fifth instar juveniles) of the pholcid Physocyclus globosusTaczanowski, 1874, and their absence in the webs of first and second instar juveniles and adult males. The bands of adhesive silk were shorter in fifth instar nymphs than in adult females, and had continuous rather than discrete adhesive droplets like the webs of two other adult female pholcid spiders. In Pholcidae, the large spigot on the anterior lateral spinnerets, which presumably produces glue, was relatively thicker in adult females and first instar juveniles than in adult males, which do not produce gumfoot threads. Therefore, we suggest that the ontogenetic origin of gumfoot threads may not be associated with changes in spigot morphology. In addition, the delayed production of gumfoot threads in P. globosus is different to theridiid spiders, in which spiderlings build gumfoot threads from emergence.
In order to understand fully sexual signalling in nature, researchers need to study sexual signalling in a wide range of species. Salticids have been used in studies of sexual signalling because of their elaborate and conspicuous courtship displays. Here, we describe in detail the leg III displays of male Saitis barbipes, a common Mediterranean salticid in the subfamily Euophryinae. We describe the use of different displays that are specific to the sex of an encountered conspecific. We classified the individual elements of these displays into 10 distinct gestures. Of these, eight were shown exclusively to the female, and two were shown to both sexes. Of the eight gestures shown to females only, six were used exclusively in what we call the courtship dance. We present the order of these gestures for each courtship display we observed. Courtship displays had a significantly higher gesture frequency than non-courtship displays to the female or agonistic displays to the male. This supports existing hypotheses that courtship displays should be costly. Our findings and gesture classifications provide a valuable background for future analysis of sexual signalling in S. barbipes.
Phrurolithus revolutusYin et al., 2004 was originally described from the female holotype only. Here we describe the male for the first time, based on newly collected specimens from its type locality in Yunnan, China. Comparison of this species with the type species of Otacilia, O. armatissima Thorell, 1897 confirms that it should be transferred to the latter genus as Otacilia revoluta (Yin et al., 2004) comb. nov. Detailed figures and photos of both sexes are also given.
The supposed monotypy of the trapdoor spider genus AmblyocarenumSimon, 1892 is reassessed and rejected. Qualitative and quantitative morphological differences in both males and females are distinguished in samples collected on Sardinia and Sicily, respectively, indicating the existence of at least two distinct Amblyocarenum species in these two regions. The study of smaller, less representative samples from southwest Italy, Algeria, and Spain also suggest the existence of distinct, although morphologically difficult to distinguish, Amblyocarenum species in other geographical regions of the western Mediterranean. Here, we describe a new species, A. nuragicus n. sp., from Sardinia. Detailed field observations and photographic work provide additional new information about this new species. More intensive sampling and the use of more inclusive research methods (molecular, geographic, ecological and ethological) are advocated in order to clarify the extant species diversity of the genus Amblyocarenum.