Thursday 22 December 2016

Aptostichus sabinae: A new species of Euctenizid Trapdoor Spider from Oaxaca State, Mexico.

Trapdoor Spiders are Mygalomorph Spiders (Spiders that lack opposable fangs, the same group as the Tarantulas) noted for the habit of excavating a burrow which they cover with a circular trapdoor, emerging from this to seize prey. They were formerly assumed to be a single taxonomic group, but the advent of molecular phylogenetic methods has revealed that several different Mygalomorph groups have independently evolved this lifestyle. The Euctenizidae are a group of about 75 Trapdoor Spiders found in the United States and Mexico. There are are currently seven genera in this family, though the majority of species, about 40, are found in a single genus, Aptostichus.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 16 December 2016, Alejandro Valdez-Mondragón of the Laboratory of Arachnology and the Colección Nacional de Arácnidos at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mayra Cortez-Roldán, also of the Laboratory of Arachnology
at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, describe a new species of Euctenizid Trapdoor Spider from Oaxaca State, Mexico.

The new species is placed in the genus Aptostichus and given the specific name sabinae, in honour of María Sabina Magdalena García, a famous Mazatec shaman, noted for her knowledge of healing and hallucinogenic Mushrooms, who was born in the Municipio Huautla de Jiménez, where the Spider was discovered. The species is described from a single male specimen found in the Cueva Li Nita cave, which situated at an altitude of 1919 m in a temperate forest, though it shows no adaptations to cave life, possibly living around the entrance to the cave system. The specimen is 8.3 mm in length, and is yellowish brown in colour, and covered in black hairs.

Aptostichus sabinae, male specimen in dorsal view. Scale bar is 0.5 mm. Valdez-Mondragón & Cortez-Roldán (2016).

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