Wednesday 15 November 2017

Ocyale ghost: A new species of Wolf Spider from Madagascar.

Wolf Spiders, Lycosidae, are large, active Spiders that do not build webs, ambushing animals that passes close to their burrows or actively seeking out and chasing down prey. They have large prominent eyes, and a habit of carrying their eggs in a sack on their abdomens. Members of the genus Ocyale are found in Africa, Asia and the America's though it is thought likely that all American and possibly Asian species may have been placed in this genus erroneously.

In a paper published in the European Journal of Taxonomy on 3 October 2017, Merlijn Jocque of the Biodiversity Inventory for Conservation, Operation Wallacea, and Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecology at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Siel Wellens, also of Biodiversity Inventory for Conservation and Operation Wallacea, J Andianarivosoa and Felix Rakotondraparany of Mention Zoologie et Biologie Animale at the Université d’Antananarivo, Sam The Seing of Development and Biodiversity Conservation Action for Madagascar, and Rudy Jocqué of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, describe a new species of Ocyale from Mahajanga Province in Madagascar.

The new species is named Ocyale ghost, in reference to its white colour and in addition the white Wolf 'Ghost in the book Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. It is a moderately large Spider, with males reaching 16.76–19.45 mm and females 16.47–22.01 mm, creamy white in colour with darker spots and yellow rings around the eyes. The species was found only on the white sandy beaches surrounding Lake Matsedroy.

Ocyale ghost, female photographed at type locality. Jocque et al. (2017).

See also...
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.