Priscula ulai González-Sponga, 1999

Huber, Bernhard A. & Villarreal, Osvaldo, 2020, On Venezuelan pholcid spiders (Araneae, Pholcidae), European Journal of Taxonomy 718, pp. 1-317 : 237-239

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Priscula ulai González-Sponga, 1999


Priscula ulai González-Sponga, 1999

Figs 829–830 View Figs 829–834 , 835–843 View Figs 835–836 View Figs 837–843 , 861–863 View Figs 861–870 , 1027, 1061

Priscula ulai González-Sponga, 1999: 160 , figs 66–73 (♂ only; see Notes below).

Priscula ulai – Huber 2000: 141, figs 96, 166, 541–546 (♂).


The type vial (MIZA 105576; MAGS 1110) contains the ♂ holotype and 1 ♀ paratype, and the specimens agree with González-Sponga’s (1999) description and illustrations. The female is not conspecific with the male but represents the previously unknown female of Mecolaesthus cornutus Huber, 2000 (see above). The true female of P. ulai is newly described below.

In the original description, the coordinates of the type locality (Monte Zerpa near Mérida city) are entirely wrong (~ 6500 km E); the correct coordinates are approximately 8.63° N, 71.16° W. At least some of the measurements in the original description are also wrong, for example male femur 4 longer than femur 1 (it is only ~70% of femur 1).

Diagnosis (amendments; see Huber 2000)

Females are distinguished from most known congeners (except P. salmeronica González-Sponga, 1999 ) by combination of small size (body length <4 mm) and absence of AME; also by distinctive membranous structure (tubes?) in internal genitalia (arrow in Fig. 843 View Figs 837–843 ). Also by combination of legs with numerous dark rings (as in male, see below) and posterior epigynal plate limited to pair of brown marks ( Fig. 861 View Figs 861–870 ).

New records

VENEZUELA – Mérida • 2 ♂♂, 6 ♀♀, ZFMK (Ar 22099), and 2 ♀♀, 1 juv. in pure ethanol, ZFMK (Ven18-225), El Valle , cloud forest along river (8.703° N, 71.077° W), 2650 m a.s.l., 25 Nov. 2018 (B.A. Huber, O. Villarreal M.) GoogleMaps 2 ♂♂, ZFMK (Ar 22100), and 1 juv. in pure ethanol, ZFMK (Ven20-126), between Tovar and Guaraque (8.2578° N, 71.7184° W), 2490 m a.s.l., forest along stream, 11 Feb. 2020 (B.A. Huber, O. Villarreal M., Q. Arias C.) GoogleMaps .

Redescription of male (amendments; see González-Sponga 1999 and Huber 2000)

Habitus as in Fig. 829 View Figs 829–834 . Eye measurements: distance PME–PME 230 µm; diameter PME 100 µm; distance PME–ALE 120 µm; AME absent. ALE and PLE larger than PME (diameter ALE 210 µm). Abdomen ventrally with large brown genital plate and brown mark in front of spinnerets. Thoracic furrow deep, reaching posterior carapace margin. Chelicerae with distinct pair of white areas laterally, bordered distally by sclerotized rim. Femur-patella joints in male palp dorsally (i.e., not shifted toward one side). Palpal femur distally protruding on ventral side ( Fig. 835 View Figs 835–836 ). Procursus ( Figs 837–839 View Figs 837–843 ) with large dorsal (slightly retrolateral) projection and smaller prolateral process; distally pointed in lateral view, widened in dorsal view. Genital bulb ( Figs 840–842 View Figs 837–843 ) with small proximal sclerite connecting bulb to tarsus, strong main apophysis with dorsal sclerotized serrated ridge, with large whitish area ventrally between strong ventral transversal sclerite and main apophysis. Legs with more than usual short vertical hairs (but not in high density). Prolateral trichobothrium present on all leg tibiae. Tibia 1 in four newly examined males: 8.8, 9.5, 9.8, 10.0; in 13 males (including nine males measured in Huber 2000): 8.8– 10.6 (mean 9.8).

Description of female

Females in general similar to males ( Fig. 830 View Figs 829–834 ), also with curved hairs on all legs (femora, tibiae, metatarsi), also with hump on posterior side of ocular area. Dark rings on legs more distinct: four rings on femora and four rings on tibiae. Some females with black pigment in AME region, but without lenses. Brown mark anterior of spinnerets sometimes medially divided. Chelicerae either without lateral whitish area or with indistinct paler area without sclerotized rim on distal side. Epigynum ( Fig. 861 View Figs 861–870 ) simple oval plate slightly bulging, posterior plate limited to pair of light brown marks. Internal genitalia ( Figs 843 View Figs 837–843 , 862–863 View Figs 861–870 ) small relative to epigynal plate, with pair of oval pore plates converging anteriorly, with distinctive membranous structures (tubes?) at posterior margin. Tibia 1 in six females: 4.7–5.2 (mean 4.9).


Known from several localities in the Venezuelan state Mérida (Monte Zerpa, Mucuy, El Valle, between Tovar and Guaraque) (Fig. 1061). All localities are between 1650–2650 m a.s.l.

Natural history

In El Valle, the spiders were found in a well preserved humid forest, both in mosses growing on trees and rocks and directly on overhanging rocks. There was no obvious difference in microhabitat between males and females that might explain the strong sexual dimorphism in leg length (cf. Litoporus iguassuensis ; Huber et al. 2013). The males from between Tovar and Guaraque were also found on a rock wall in a humid forest.

Egg sacs were relatively densely covered with silk ( Fig. 830 View Figs 829–834 ) and contained approximately 20– 25 eggs each (N =2).


Germany, Bonn, Zoologische Forschungsinstitut und Museum "Alexander Koenig"


Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig














Priscula ulai González-Sponga, 1999

Huber, Bernhard A. & Villarreal, Osvaldo 2020

Priscula ulai

Huber B. A. 2000: 141

Priscula ulai González-Sponga, 1999: 160

Gonzalez-Sponga M. A. 1999: 160