Hoplopholcus cecconii Kulczyński, 1908,

Huber, Bernhard A., 2020, Revision of the spider genus Hoplopholcus Kulczyński (Araneae, Pholcidae), Zootaxa 4726 (1), pp. 1-94: 66-72

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Hoplopholcus cecconii Kulczyński, 1908


Hoplopholcus cecconii Kulczyński, 1908 

Figs 322–355View FIGURES 322–327View FIGURES 328–333View FIGURES 334–343View FIGURES 344–349View FIGURES 350–355

Hoplopholcus cecconii Kulczyński, 1908: 63  , pl. 2, figs 6–7 (♂ ♀). Brignoli 1979a: 350, figs 1–5. Senglet 2001: 62, fig. 13. Topçu et al. 2005a: 113 (see Notes below). Türkeş & Karabulut 2013: 619. Eberle et al. 2018 (molecular data). Huber et al. 2018: fig. 6.

Hoplopholcus subterraneus Denis, 1955: 445  , figs 3a–g. Synonymized by Brignoli (1979a).

Diagnosis. Distinguished from known congeners by shapes of procursus and bulbal processes ( Figs 334–335, 338– 341View FIGURES 334–343): ventral spine of procursus short and distally curved toward dorsally; ventral ‘knee’ of procursus small but distinct; procursus tip without dorsal process (in contrast to H. atik  ) and without prolateral process; ventral bulbal sclerite distally strongly widened (in retrolateral view, Fig. 341View FIGURES 334–343); dorsal membranous process distinct. Females are difficult to distinguish externally from congeners; median pouch of uterus externus small, variably visible in uncleared specimens ( Figs 325View FIGURES 322–327, 328, 331View FIGURES 328–333); pair of internal lateral pouches strongly developed, anteriorly connected to ventral arc, with sclerotized external margins ( Fig. 342View FIGURES 334–343).

Type material. Hoplopholcus cecconii  . Unknown number of male and female syntypes, depository unknown (see Notes below), from “ Palaestina  ” (see Notes below), date not given, leg. G. Cecconi; not examined.

Hoplopholcus subterraneus  . ♂ holotype, 1♂ paratype, Lebanon, “ Grotte d’Antelias (st. 44)” [~ 33.916°N, 35.590°E], 2.x.1951 (H. Coiffait), onlyGoogleMaps  1 male palp examined ( MNHN, Ar 10339) (see Notes below)  . 3♀ paraty- pes (“ allotypes ”), MNHN ( Ar 2035), Lebanon, “Grotte de Jezzine” [~ 33.54°N, 35.59°E], 6.x.1951 (H. Coiffait); examinedGoogleMaps  . 2♂ paratypes, Lebanon, “ Grotte d’Amchite ” “st. 26” [~ 34.15°N, 35.64°E], 4.x.1951 (H. Coiffait); not examined (depository unknown)GoogleMaps  .

Notes. The type series of H. cecconii  is neither in Warsaw (W. Wawer, personal communication, 23.iv.2019), nor in Lviv (A. Hirna, personal communication, 20.vii.2018), nor in Budapest (L. Dányi, personal communication, 29.iv.2019). I do not create a neotype because the identity of the species seems unproblematic.

In the early 20 th century, “ Palaestina  ” included present-day Israel as well as parts of present-day Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. The type locality of H. cecconii  is thus very imprecisely known. However, no other Hoplopholcus  species seems to occur in this region, so the uncertainty about the type locality appears unproblematic.

The single male palp in MNHN (Ar 10339) was found by Brignoli (1979a) in a vial with Harpactea straba Denis, 1955  , originating from the same locality as the types of H. subterraneus  (“Grotte d’Antelias”). I follow his conclusion that this palp is thus probably from one of the two males from this locality. The two males (the “ holotypes ” in Denis 1955) seem to be lost, just like the two male paratypes from “Grotte d’Amchite”.

I have not seen the Turkish material cited in Topçu et al. (2005a) (from “Marmara Region” and “Central Anatolia Region”, without further locality data) and in Türkeş & Karabulut (2013) (from Erzinkan Province, “road of Kabatas, Ala Cave”, ~ 39.295°N, 38.513°E). The Marmara Region material is very probably misidentified (possibly H. trakyaensis  or H. bursa  ). The record for “Central Anatolia Region” may refer to Senglet’s (2001) correctly identified specimens from Ürgüp (listed below). Erzinkan is close to the Sivas records below and thus credible.

Other material examined. ISRAEL, Haifa District: 15♂ 17♀, ZFMK (Ar 20962–63) and  2♂ 2♀ 1 juv. in pure ethanol, ZFMK (Isr 55), Bét She’arim (32.7034°N, 35.1287°E), in rock-cut tomb, 110 m a.s.l., 17.ix.2013 (B.A. Huber, S. Aharon, E. Gavish-Regev)GoogleMaps  . Northern District: 1♀, ZFMK (Ar 20964) and  2♂ (2 vials) in pure ethanol, ZFMK (Kral 10, 11), Mount Meron, close to Field School (= Beit Seffer Sade ) [33.01°N, 35.39°E], 25.ix.2008 (J. Král)GoogleMaps  .

LEBANON, Mount Lebanon: 1♂, MNHN, “Grotte d’Antelias” [~ 33.916°N, 35.590°E], 18.x.1953 (Remy)GoogleMaps  . 1♂ 1♀ 1 juv., MNHN, “Grotte Warrag Antelias”, 25.x.1953 (Remy)  .

JORDAN, Irbid: 2♂ 5♀, ZFMK (Ar 20965), Barkash [=Bergesh] Natural Reserve , Barkash Cave [~ 32.437°N, 35.744°E], vii.2007 (J. Wunderlich)GoogleMaps  .

TURKEY, Nevşehir: 3♂ 2 juvs (2 vials), WML, Özkonak [38.811°N, 34.838°E], 16.vi.1993 (C. Felton). 1♂ 2♀, MHNG, Nevşehir (not Kayseri as on label and in Senglet 2001), Ürgüp, in cave-church Theodora ( Senglet 2001) [38.541°N, 34.993°E], 17.viii.1974 (A. Senglet). 2♀ 2 juvs, SMF (13062/2), near Göreme [~ 38.645°N, 34.830°E], 16.ix.1962 (K. Dobat). Sivas: 3♂ 2♀ (genitalia of one female mounted on slide), MHNG, Hafik (39.850°N, 37.450°E), 15.viii.1974 (A. Senglet). 2♂ 1♀, MHNG, Imranli (39.883°N, 38.100°E), 15.viii.1974 (A. Senglet). Kayseri: 1♀, MHNG, Pazarören [38.675°N, 36.165°E], no further data.

UNSPECIFIED AND DUBIOUS LOCALITIES: 1♂ 1♀, MNHN (Ar 10344), “Aegyptus. Syria ”, no further data. 1♂ 1♀, MNHN, “ Hongrie, E. Simon 1885”, no further data, misidentified by E. Simon as “ Holocnemus Forskali Thorell  ”.

Redescription. Male (Bét She’arim, ZFMK Ar 20962). MEASUREMENTS. Total length 5.2, carapace width 2.0. Distance PME-PME 120 µm; diameter PME 140 µm; distance PME-ALE 30 µm; diameter AME 70 µm; distance AME-AME 40 µm. Leg 1: 48.6 (13.5 + 0.9 + 13.7 + 17.6 + 2.9), tibia 2: 9.6, tibia 3: 7.1, tibia 4: 8.4; tibia 1 L/d: 64.

COLOR (in ethanol). Carapace mostly pale ochre-yellow, ocular area light brown; clypeus not darkened; sternum ochre-yellow with brown margins; legs ochre-yellow, without darker rings; abdomen monochromous gray.

BODY. Habitus similar to H. labyrinthi  (cf. Figs 6–7View FIGURES 6–11). Ocular area slightly elevated. Deep thoracic pit and indistinct pair of shallow furrows diverging from pit toward posterior margin. Clypeus unmodified. Sternum wider than long (1.40/1.05), unmodified. Abdomen oval, dorso-posteriorly rounded. Gonopore in scanned specimen with six epiandrous spigots (two broken; Fig. 345View FIGURES 344–349). ALS with only two spigots each ( Fig. 352View FIGURES 350–355).

CHELICERAE. As in Figs 336–337View FIGURES 334–343, with pair of latero-distal apophyses provided with two modified coneshaped hairs each ( Figs 346–347View FIGURES 344–349); fine stridulatory ridges ( Fig. 355View FIGURES 350–355) barely visible in dissecting microscope.

PALPS. As in Figs 322–324View FIGURES 322–327; coxa with very indistinct retrolateral bulge, trochanter barely protruding ventrally, femur with dark retrolateral line and prolateral stridulatory pick ( Fig. 354View FIGURES 350–355); procursus ( Figs 334–335View FIGURES 334–343) with distinct ventral ‘knee’, ventral spine appears strongly narrowing distally (only in lateral view) and slightly curving toward dorsally, procursus tip without dorsal process and without prolateral process; genital bulb ( Figs 338–341View FIGURES 334–343, 348View FIGURES 344–349) with distally strongly widened (in retrolateral view) ventral sclerite ( Fig. 341View FIGURES 334–343); with distinct dorsal membranous process ( Fig. 339View FIGURES 334–343).

LEGS. Femora 1 and 2 with single rows of ventral spines (femur 1 ~30; femur 2 ~15) ( Fig. 349View FIGURES 344–349); with many curved hairs on tibiae and metatarsi 1 and 2, few on tibiae and metatarsi 3 and 4; few vertical hairs; retrolateral trichobothrium of tibia 1 at 5%; prolateral trichobothrium present on all leg tibiae; tarsi without distinct pseudosegments but with many small platelets.

Male (variation). Tibia 1 length unusually variable, in 30 other males: 6.8–15.7 (mean 11.9); males from Mount Meron with shortest legs (6.8, 8.1), followed by males from Özkonak (10.0, 10.1, 10.8); all other males 10.9–15.7. Most males with two or three modified hairs on each cheliceral apophysis, sometimes asymmetric; one male with four modified hairs on each side. Dorsal abdominal marks sometimes present, sometimes distinct and extending to anterior part, and sternum sometimes darker (brown) (in particular in specimens from Mount Meron). Small males with fewer leg spines (femur 1 ~20–25; femur 2 without spines).

Female. In general similar to male but without spines on legs. Tibia 1 in 29 females: 9.5–13.5 (mean 11.4) (legs 1 missing in single female from Mount Meron; no females available from Özkonak). Palpal tarsal organ capsulate ( Fig. 351View FIGURES 350–355). ALS as in male ( Fig. 353View FIGURES 350–355).

FEMALE GENITALIA. Epigynum as in Figs 325View FIGURES 322–327, 328, 331View FIGURES 328–333, 350View FIGURES 350–355, triangular to bell-shaped; internal sclerotized arcs, median pouch of uterus externus, and lateral pouches usually visible in uncleared specimens; with pair of light brown weakly bulging areas in front of epigynum and simple, short but wide posterior plate. Internal genitalia with small rounded median pouch of uterus externus, pair of lateral pouches strongly developed, connected anteriorly to ventral arc, with sclerotized external margins ( Fig. 342View FIGURES 334–343); pore plates variably far apart from each other (compare Figs 330 and 333View FIGURES 328–333), ventral arc of variable shape (posterior margin ranging from straight to M-shaped).

Distribution. Widespread in the Levant and central Turkey ( Fig. 446View FIGURE 446).

Natural history. Most records are from caves or cave-like habitats. The only certain exception are the specimens from Mount Meron that were collected among large boulders at the edge of a forest (J. Král, personal communication, 17.x.2008). These are the specimens with by far the shortest legs. The small sample size permits no final conclusion but the data suggest the possibility that this species has epigean and hypogean populations that differ dramatically in leg length (see also H. minotaurinus  ).

In the rock-cut tomb at Bét She’arim the specimens were found in very high densities close to the entrance area. They built large domed sheet webs from close to the ground up to the ceiling, and showed very little defense behavior. When disturbed, they retreated toward the wall and then vibrated slightly, but were easy to catch.


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig


Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


Forschungsinstitut und Natur-Museum Senckenberg














Hoplopholcus cecconii Kulczyński, 1908

Huber, Bernhard A. 2020

Hoplopholcus cecconii Kulczyński, 1908: 63

Turkes, T. & Karabulut, H. 2013: 619
Topcu, A. & Demir, H. & Seyyar, O. 2005: 113
Senglet, A. 2001: 62
Brignoli, P. M. 1979: 350
Kulczynski, M. V. 1908: 63

Hoplopholcus subterraneus

Denis, J. 1955: 445