Cucudeta, Maddison, Wayne P., 2009

Maddison, Wayne P., 2009, New cocalodine jumping spiders from Papua New Guinea (Araneae: Salticidae: Cocalodinae), Zootaxa 2021, pp. 1-22 : 15

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.186069


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scientific name


new genus

Genus Cucudeta new genus

Type species: Cucudeta zabkai , new species.

Etymology. The name is based on " kukudet ", the word for spider in the language of the Hewa people, on whose land I first collected these spiders. " Kukudet " represents the pronunciation as interpreted by me on hearing the word spoken; Vollrath (1985) lists the word as having the phonemes /'ku.ku.tε.tε/. The name is to be treated as feminine.

Diagnosis. Small dark brown to black leaf litter salticids, sparsely covered with relatively small setae. No other known salticid has the following combination of features: (1) First metatarsus with four prominent pairs of ventral macrosetae ( Fig. 74 View FIGURES 72 – 86 ). This contrasts with the remaining leg segments which have relatively few macrosetae compared to other salticids. (2) Posterior median eyes displaced medially so as to be on the top of the ocular quadrangle, pointing upwards rather than diagonally as in most salticids. The medial displacement brings the PME to touch the line between the medial edges of the PLE and ALE. Other salticids known to me with PME so far medial are lyssomanines and hisponines. (3) Male palpus with median apophysis. (4) Lacking distinctive constriction between PME and PLE present in hisponines. (5) Sternum with raised mound at each of the leg bases, especially the first. Among non-salticoid salticids with a median apophysis, Cucudeta is most similar in habits and body form to Eupoa , from which it differs by features (1) and (2), a more elongate body, and the simpler form of the embolus.

Natural history and behaviour. All three species of this genus were collected in mid to high elevation in association with leaf litter in rainforest. Cucudeta zabkai and C. uzet were collected from leaf litter suspended a few centimetres above the ground in the base of small Pandanus plants ( Figs 90–91 View FIGURES 87 – 92 ). Later, C. gahavisuka was found by sifting leaf litter in well-drained terraces on a small hillside ( Fig. 92 View FIGURES 87 – 92 ). It is possible that Pandanus is not a requirement for C. zabkai and C. uzet , and that the common habitat requirement of the genus is moist but well-drained leaf litter. No individuals were found walking exposed on the surface of the leaf litter.