Molotra tsingy, Ubick & Griswold, 2011

Ubick, Darrell & Griswold, Charles E., 2011, The Malagasy Goblin Spiders of the New Genus Molotra (Araneae: Oonopidae), American Museum Novitates 2011 (3729), pp. 1-72: 19-20

publication ID 10.1206/3729.2


persistent identifier

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scientific name

Molotra tsingy


Molotra tsingy   species group

DIAGNOSIS: The single species included in this group is known only from the male, which differs from other members of the genus in being small (1.5 mm), pale in coloration, and with a smoother carapace (figs. 231–243). The palp is unusual in being twisted from the palpal axis and in resting laterally on the sternum, which lacks the typically large anterior cavities (figs. 242, 256–261). The embolar region differs from that in other Molotra   in having a deep transverse groove prolaterally, lobes oriented in a vertical plane (rather than horizontal), and the presence of a dorsal and ventral prong on the prolateral surface (figs. 279–292).

SPECIES INCLUDED: Molotra tsingy   .

Molotra tsingy   , new species

Figures 5 View FIGS , 231–292 View FIGS View FIGS View FIGS View FIGS View FIGS View FIGS View FIGS View FIGS ; map 1; table 1

TYPES: Male holotype and male paratype from Madagascar, Mahajanga, Parc National Tsingy de Bemaraha   , 10.6 km ESE 123° Antsalova , 19.70944°S, 44.71805°E, 150 m, tropical dry forest on Tsingy, sifted litter (16–20 Nov 2001, B.L. Fisher et al., BLF 4432) deposited in GoogleMaps   CAS ( CASENT9010360,   PBI_OON_03397).

ETYMOLOGY: The species is named after the type locality.

DIAGNOSIS: Same as for species group.

MALE: (PBI_OON_03397): Total length 1.56. CEPHALOTHORAX: Carapace pale orange, surface of elevated portion of pars cephalica smooth, sides smooth; nonmarginal pars thoracica setae absent (figs. 239–243, 248–251). Eyes: smaller than in other Molotra species   , ALE separated by more than their diameter (fig. 252). Sternum slightly longer than wide, yellow-brown, anterior excavation very narrow, surface with few small pits (figs. 242, 256, 258). Mouthparts: Endites distally excavated, anteromedian tip with strong, knoblike projection (figs. 253–255). ABDOMEN: Book lung covers oval, larger than in M. molotra   group, slightly smaller than pedicel cross section (figs. 235, 262). Pedicel-scutal region lacking ridges (figs. 262, 263). Dorsal scutum yellow-brown, surface smooth (figs. 232–236). Epigastric scutum dorsal extension only slightly greater than pedicel diameter (figs. 236, 262). Postepigastric scutum with short posteriorly directed lateral apodemes (not closely examined) (fig. 238). Dorsal setae present, short. LEGS: Yellow-brown, patella plus tibia I shorter than carapace. Leg spines present, longer than leg segment width: tibiae: I v4-2-2; II v3-2-2; metatarsi I, II v 2-2-0 (figs. 244–247). Tarsal claws: superior claw surfaces striate; proclaws and retroclaws with similar dentition, with five large median teeth, laterals absent (tarsus III not examined) (figs. 271–278). GENITALIA: Epigastric region with sperm pore large, oval (figs. 238, 264, 265). Palp femur attaches to patella basally (fig. 279), tibia slightly longer than patella, embolar region with a broad, ectally concave retrolateral lobe (L2), a smaller wrinkled dorso-prolateral lobe (L1) and two prolateral prongs (fig. 287); cymbium and bulb twisted, so that the morphologically dorsal surface is positioned prolaterally (fig. 281); embolar region separated from rest of bulb by a transverse groove (fig. 290).

FEMALE: Unknown.

NOTES: This species has an interesting palp, as the bulb and tarsus are rotated relative to the main palpal axis. The embolus is thus displaced outward (retrolaterally) and, in the retracted palp, rests in the space between the edge of the sternum and coxae II and III. The anterior margin of the sternum has only a slight cavity (figs. 260, 261), similar to the condition in female Molotra   (fig. 90), but unlike the deep cavities found in other Molotra   males (fig. 87). This unusual mode of palpal retraction is another indication that the species may be misplaced in the genus. Additional material, especially of the unknown female, will be needed to solve this problem.


DISTRIBUTION: Known only from the type locality.


California Academy of Sciences