Pholcus ethagala

Bernard A. Huber, Joseph K. H. Koh, Amir-Ridhwan M. Ghazali, Kamil A. Braima, Olga M. Nuñeza, Charles Leh Moi Ung & Booppa Petch, 2016, New leaf- and litter-dwelling species of the genus Pholcus from Southeast Asia (Araneae, Pholcidae), European Journal of Taxonomy 200, pp. 1-45: 4-5

publication ID 10.5852/ejt.2016.200

publication LSID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Pholcus ethagala


Pholcus ethagala  species group


This group (proposed in Huber 2011) includes medium-sized, long-legged spiders (body length ~3.0– 4.5, male leg 1 length:~30–40); distinguished from similar species groups in Pholcus  ( P. minang  and P. kerinci  groups proposed in Huber 2011, and P. buatong  group proposed in Huber et al. 2016) by combination of following characters: elongate abdomen slightly angular or pointed dorso-posteriorly ( Figs 5View Figs 2 – 9, 32View Figs 32 – 38); six eyes (in contrast to P. kerinci  group; only the dubious P. vesculus Simon, 1901  with eight eyes); male eye triads on stalks ( Figs 39View Figs 39 – 47, 48View Figs 48 – 53, 77–80View Figs 77 – 80; in contrast to P. kerinci  group); male chelicerae with distinct proximal apophyses in frontal position ( Figs 12View Figs 10 – 14, 17View Figs 15 – 19, 69View Figs 67 – 71, 74View Figs 72 – 76; in contrast to P. kerinci  and P. buatong  groups), without distal apophyses (in contrast to P. minang  group); male palpal trochanter with short retrolateral apophysis and longer to very long ventral apophyses ( Figs 11View Figs 10 – 14, 16View Figs 15 – 19, 68View Figs 67 – 71, 73View Figs 72 – 76; short only in P. gombak Huber, 2011  ); male palpal patella dorsally not bulging (in contrast to P. buatong  group); palpal tarsus with dorsal elongation ( Figs 11View Figs 10 – 14, 68View Figs 67 – 71; except P. phui Huber, 2011  and P. barisan Huber  sp. nov.), bulb with large and often complex appendix and weakly sclerotized embolus, without uncus; procursus highly complex, with dorsal (sometimes rather prolateral) process and hinged distal element; epigynum weakly sclerotized, with small ‘knob’ ( Figs 13View Figs 10 – 14, 18View Figs 15 – 19, 70View Figs 67 – 71, 75View Figs 72 – 76; in contrast to P. buatong  group).

Description – amendments

The original description ( Huber 2011) is still largely valid. The following can be added: clypeus usually unmodified but with pair of small processes in P. barisan Huber  sp. nov. ( Fig. 80View Figs 77 – 80); male palpal femur ventrally very variable, from barely modified ( P. barisan Huber  sp. nov.; Fig. 73View Figs 72 – 76) to distinct processes ( P. ethagala Huber, 2011  ; P. phui Huber, 2011  ; P. ledang Huber, 2011  ; P. gombak Huber, 2011  ). Genital bulb without uncus but in some species with small sclerite that originates from proximal bulbal sclerite (arrows in Figs 15View Figs 15 – 19, 25View Figs 20 – 25, 67View Figs 67 – 71) and might be homologous to the uncus present in most other Pholcus  groups.

Tibia 1 in males 6–10; tibia 1 L/d ~80–105; tibia 2/tibia 4 usually about 1.05–1.15, in P. uludong Huber  sp. nov. 1.00. Male gonopore usually with four epiandrous spigots ( Figs 46View Figs 39 – 47, 57View Figs 54 – 58; the three spigots in the specimen figured in Huber 2011: fig. 803 is probably an individual exception). Tarsus 4 comb-hairs of the simplified Pholcus  - type (cf. Huber & Fleckenstein 2008), with four lateral tines ( Figs 28View Figs 26 – 31, 50View Figs 48 – 53).


The P. ethagala  group now includes ten species: two species on Sri Lanka ( P. ethagala  ; P. maturata Huber, 2011  ), seven species on the Malay Peninsula ( P. phui  ; P. vesculus  ; P. tanahrata Huber  sp. nov.; P. uludong Huber  sp. nov; P. gombak  ; P. ledang  ; P. bukittimah Huber  sp. nov.) and one species on Sumatra ( P. barisan Huber  sp. nov.). The poorly known P. vesculus  is assigned tentatively and probably misplaced (see Huber 2011). Originally, P. schwendingeri Huber, 2011  was also assigned tentatively to this group; it has recently been transferred to the newly created P. buatong  group ( Huber et al. 2016).

Natural history

The seven species newly observed in the field (Malay Peninsula and Sumatra) were mostly found on the undersides of large dead leaves on the ground. This is in contrast to the two Sri Lankan species that supposedly live on live leaves (at least P. ethagala  ; Huber 2011). Very few specimens of the newly observed species were also found under logs ( P. ledang  ) and in bamboo sheaths and under rocks ( P. gombak  ). The availability of suitable large leaves on the forest floor strongly influenced spider abundance. Webs consisted of small domed sheets closely attached to the leaf surface. When disturbed, the spiders barely reacted; they vibrated only for a short time at low amplitude or were not seen to vibrate at all. Two egg-sacs (of two species) were parasitized by Idris Foerster, 1856  ( Scelionidae  , Baeini  ) wasps ( Figs 33–35View Figs 32 – 38, 62View Figs 59 – 66). For further information see individual descriptions below.


The P. ethagala  group is known from Sri Lanka (see Huber 2011; not treated herein and not shown in Fig. 1View Fig. 1) and from Southeast Asia (Malay Peninsula, Sumatra; Fig. 1View Fig. 1).