Saturday, 29 March 2014

Five new species of cave-dwelling Armoured Spiders from southern China.

Armoured Spiders (Tetrablemmidae) are found throughout the tropics, but are at their most diverse and abundant in Southeast Asia. Most species are small, and dwell in leaf litter and soil, including the soil built up around epiphytic plants in the canopies of rainforests. Some cave dwelling species are also known. Armoured Spiders are easy to identify as such since they only have four eyes, a trait otherwise seen only in the Caponiid Spider genera Nopsides and Notnops, which do not resemble Armoured Spiders and which have limited geographical distributions (in Mexico and Chile respectively). Armoured Spiders do not build webs.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 13 March 2014, Yucheng Lin of the Key Laboratory of Bio-resources and Eco-environment at Sichuan University and Shuqiang Li of the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences describe five new species of cave-dwelling Armoured Spiders from southern China.

The first new species is named Sinamma oxycera, where 'Sinamma' is a combination of 'Sina' (China) and '-mma' the suffix of the genus Tetrablemma from which the group gets its name, and 'oxycera' means 'sharp horn' in Greek, a reference to a structure on the head of the male. The species is named from two male and one female specimens found in the Longmolai Cave in Guangxi Province. These are reddish brown Armoured Spiders 1.59 mm in length, the males of which have a distinctive horn-like structure on the head, upon which the eyes are mounted.
Sinamma oxycera, male (A-B, E, G) and female (C-D, F, H) (G, H) Frontal view, (A, C) dorsal view (B, D) ventral view (E, F) lateral view G, H) anterior view. Lin & Li (2014).

The second new species described is placed in the genus Singaporemma and given the specific name banxiaoensis, meaning 'from Banxiao'; the species is described from 16 specimens collected from Banxiao Cave in Guangxi Province. Singaporemma banxiaoensis is a brownish yellow 1.00-1.14 mm Armoured Spider, the females being slightly larger than the males. Both sexes have white eyespots.

Singaporemma banxiaoensis male (A-B, E, G) and female (C-D, F, H) (G, H) Frontal view (C, D) dorsal view (B. D) ventral view (E, F) lateral view (G, H) anterior view. Lin & Li (2014).

The third new species is also placed in the genus Singaporemma and is given the specific name wulongensis, meaning 'From Wulong'; the species is described from 29 specimens collected from Xiaodong Cave in Wulong County, Chonqing Municipality. Singaporemma wulongensis is a 1.14-1.30 mm reddish-brown Armoured Spider, the females being slightly larger and slightly paler in colours than the males.

Singaporemma wulongensis male (A-B, E, G) and female (C-D, F, H). (G-H) Frontal view (A, C) dorsal view (B, D) ventral view (E, F) lateral view (G, H) anterior view. Lin & Li (2014).

The fourth new species is placed in the genus Tetrablemma and given the specific name menglaensis, meaning 'from Mengla'; the species is described from three specimens collected in the Yeniu Cave System in
Mengla County in Yunnan Province. Tetrablemma Menglaensis is a 1.18-1.27 reddish-brown Armoured Spider, the females being slightly larger than the males. The males have a horn-like tubercle on the head, upon which the eyes are mounted.

Tetrablemma menglaensis male (A-B, E, G) and female (C-D, F, H). (G, H) Frontal view (A, C) dorsal view (B, D) ventral view (E, F) lateral view (G, H) anterior view. Lin & Li (2014).

The final new species is also placed in the genus Tetrablemma, and is given the specific name ziyaoensis, meaning 'from Ziyao'; the species is described from three specimens collected from Yinhe Cave, near Ziyao village in Guangxi Province. Tetrablemma ziyaoensis is a 1.13-1.21 mm reddish-brown Armoured Spider, the females being slightly larger than the males.

Tetrablemma ziyaoensis male (A-B, E, G) and female (C-D, F, H) (G, H) Frontal view (A, C) dorsal view (B, D) ventral view (E, F) lateral view (G, H) anterior view. Lin & Li (2014).

Distribution records of five new tetrablemmid species from China. (1) Singaporemma banxiaoensis (2) Singaporemma wulongensis (3) Sinamma oxycera (4) Tetrablemma menglaensis (5) Tetrablemma ziyaoensis.


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