AsianScientist (Nov. 4, 2016) – A study into spider individuals collected from across Asia over the past 15 years has revealed 43 scaffold web spiders (Nesticidae) that have stayed hidden from science until now. The new species were described in a paper in ZooKeys.
The studied family of scaffold web spiders is a relatively small group of arachnids, which can be found at almost any locality apart from Siberia, Central Asia, Northern and Southern Africa and places at high latitude.
Prior to the study by researchers from Sichuan University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the species numbered 245 in total, 12 of which are extinct and known from fossils only. A curious peculiarity in these spiders is their comb of serrated bristles, located on their rear legs, used to pull silk bands for their webs.
Drs. Lin Yucheng, Francesco Ballarin and Li Shuqiang carried out morphological and molecular studies to discover remarkable diversity of scaffold web spiders from across China, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Madagascar, increasing the number of scaffold web spider species known by man by about 20 percent. The researchers have also established a new genus (Speleoticus) for five previously known but misplaced species, which spend a lot of their time taking shelter in caves.
The majority of scaffold web spiders in temperate climates tend to be medium-sized, long-legged, and prefer cave-like environments. The species found in the tropical and subtropical areas are, on the other hand, usually smaller, with shorter legs, and can be quite often spotted outside, where they crawl in forest litter, on grass, and under stones.
The article can be found at: Lin et al. (2016) A Survey of the Spider Family Nesticidae (Arachnida, Araneae) in Asia and Madagascar, with the Description of Forty-three New Species.
Source: Pensoft Publishers; Photo: Shuqiang Li/Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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