Sunday 29 September 2013

A new species of Jumping Spider from Papua, Indonesia.

Jumping Spiders (Salticidae) are specialists who actively hunt their prey, rather than trapping it in webs as most Spiders do. They have extremely well developed vision, with large, forward facing eyes, and an enhanced respiratory system, which enables them to keep their tissues well oxygenated. Jumping Spiders actively move about looking for prey; most of the time they move quite slowly, but once suitable prey is detected they can leap onto it from some distance, and hold it with enlarged front legs. They are an extremely successful group, with over 5000 described species (approximately 13% of all described Spider species. They have a fossil record dating back to the Eocene, with specimens known from Baltic amber, roughly 44 million years old.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 23 May 2013, Joanna Gardzińska and Barbara Patoleta of the Department of Zoology at Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities describe a new species of Jumping Spider from Sarmi District in Papua, Indonesia. The description is based upon specimens collected in 1959, and held in the Royal Belgian Institut of Natural Sciences.

The new species is placed in the genus Diolenius, which previously included 14 species, all from New Guinea, New Britain, the Moluccas and adjacent islands, and which is classified within a wider group of Jumping Spiders all restricted to Australasia. It is given the specific name Diolenius sarmiensis, referring to the area where it was found.

Diolenius sarmiensis, female in dorsal view. Scale bare is 1 mm. Gardzińska & Patoleta (2013).

Diolenius sarmiensis is a 4-5 mm dark brown Jumping Spider. It's legs are orange or pale brown, though the enlarged forelegs have dark brown patches. The female is lighter in colour than the male, and has a marked constriction of the abdomen which the male lacks.

The approximate location of the area where Diolenius sarmiensis was discovered. Google Maps.

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