Afrodrassex, Haddad & Booysen, 2022

Haddad, Charles R. & Booysen, Ruan, 2022, The ground spider genera Leptodrassex Murphy, 2007 and Leptopilos Levy, 2009 (Araneae: Gnaphosidae) in southern Africa, including the description of a new genus and seven new species, Zootaxa 5194 (1), pp. 1-32 : 3-4

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gen. nov.

Genus Afrodrassex gen. nov.

Type species. Afrodrassex balrog sp. nov.

Etymology. The genus name is a contraction referring to the currently known distribution in the Afrotropical Region, and Leptodrassex , to which it is related. Gender masculine.

Diagnosis. Afrodrassex gen. nov. can be distinguished from all other Leptodrassinae by the distinctive genitalic structure: females have very long copulatory ducts running around the periphery of the epigyne before entering the spermathecae posteriorly ( Figs 34 View FIGURES 34–38 , 39 View FIGURES 39–43 ), while the male palps have a large curved anterior tegular process, lack a median apophysis, and have a long embolus associated with a large membranous conductor ( Figs 36–38 View FIGURES 34–38 , 41–43 View FIGURES 39–43 ).

Description. Small pale spiders ( Figs 1, 2 View FIGURES 1–6 , 7–10 View FIGURES 7–10 ), females 2.23–3.20 mm and males 1.85–2.75 mm in length; carapace creamy-white to yellow; carapace oval, eye region narrow, broadest between coxae II and III, without fovea ( Fig. 11 View FIGURES 11–22 ); posterior margin straight or slightly concave; carapace gradually elevated from eye region, highest at 3/4 its length, with steep posterior slope; carapace smooth and matte, densely covered in feathery setae, with long straight setae in eye region ( Figs 11–14 View FIGURES 11–22 ). All eyes surrounded by black rings, pigment continuous between anterior eyes ( Figs 7–10 View FIGURES 7–10 ); AER procurved in anterior view, slightly recurved in dorsal view ( Figs 12–14 View FIGURES 11–22 ); clypeus height slightly larger than AME diameter; AME largest, separated by approximately 1/2 their diameter, separated from ALE by 1/8 ALE diameter; PER strongly procurved in dorsal view ( Figs 13, 14 View FIGURES 11–22 ); PME oval and flattened, PLE round, PME slightly larger than PLE; PME separated from each other and from PLE by distance between 1/2 to equal to their diameter; ALE and PLE almost touching ( Figs 13, 14 View FIGURES 11–22 ); MOQ narrower posteriorly than anteriorly, anterior width slightly larger than MOQ length. Cheliceral dentition: promargin with three teeth, usually middle tooth largest, distal tooth smallest, a tiny denticle; retromargin with two subequal teeth, larger than promarginal teeth; endites with slightly depressed lateral margins, distal margins rounded, with distinct serrula and maxillar hair tuft; labium trapezoid, rounded anteriorly, slightly longer than wide. Pleural bars weakly sclerotised, isolated; sternum oval, approximately 1¼ times longer than broad, broadest at coxa II, surface smooth, sparsely covered in straight setae; precoxal triangles present, intercoxal sclerites present between all coxal pairs. Abdomen oval, as broad as or slightly broader than carapace, dorsal scutum absent in both sexes ( Figs 7–10 View FIGURES 7–10 ); dorsum with single pair of sigilla, usually indistinct; dorsum and sides densely covered in feathery setae, with scattered fine plumose setae ( Figs 15, 16 View FIGURES 11–22 ), venter only with fine plumose setae ( Fig. 16 View FIGURES 11–22 ). Spinnerets (only observed in A. balrog sp. nov.; spinnerets of male partly retracted and obscured by silk threads): ALS of female with two major ampullate gland spigots anteriorly, two large piriform gland spigots mesally, two slender modified piriform gland spigots lateral to anterior piriform gland spigot, and two tartipores posteriorly ( Fig. 17 View FIGURES 11–22 ); PMS of female with two large minor ampullate gland spigots mesally, one small cylindrical gland spigot posteriorly, one tartipore, and five small aciniform gland spigots peripherally ( Fig. 18 View FIGURES 11–22 ); PLS of female (partly retracted) with only one small minor ampullate gland spigot anteriorly, one large cylindrical gland spigot mesally, and three aciniform gland spigots posteriorly ( Fig. 19 View FIGURES 11–22 ); ALS of male with only two large piriform gland spigots distinguishable ( Fig. 20 View FIGURES 11–22 ); PMS of male with only one posterior minor ampullate gland spigot and three peripheral aciniform gland spigots distinguishable ( Fig. 21 View FIGURES 11–22 ); PLS of male with single large anterior minor ampullate gland spigot and two aciniform gland spigots distinguishable ( Fig. 22 View FIGURES 11–22 ). Leg formula 4123 or 4213; legs densely covered in feathery setae, with scattered straight plumose setae between them, feathery setae sparse on tarsi; patellae with narrow indentation and small lyriform organ on retrolateral side, with single proximal and distal erect long seta dorsally on patellae III and IV that are usually missing, presumably easily damaged and lost during preservation; metatarsi with well-developed dorsal stopper distally; tarsi with sparse chemosensory setae, two pairs of dorsal trichobothria, oval tarsal organ and dense claw tufts ( Figs 23–26 View FIGURES 23–26 ); tarsal claws with at least three small ventral teeth ( Fig. 26 View FIGURES 23–26 ). Female epigyne with shallow paired ovoid atria, separated by median septum ( Figs 27 View FIGURES 27–33 , 34 View FIGURES 34–38 , 39 View FIGURES 39–43 ), with atria frequently filled with secretory plugs; internally with extremely lengthened copulatory ducts, with spermathecae posteromedially positioned, with posteriorly-directed fertilization ducts. Male palpal femur and patella without apophyses, except A. catharinae sp. nov., with a small ventral patellar denticle ( Figs 41, 43 View FIGURES 39–43 ); palpal patella with retrolateral lyriform organ ( Fig. 31 View FIGURES 27–33 ); palpal tibia with retrolateral apophysis singular, variable in shape ( Figs 29 View FIGURES 27–33 , 38 View FIGURES 34–38 , 41, 43 View FIGURES 39–43 ); cymbium narrower than tegulum, with dense setae distally on dorsal surface ( Fig. 28 View FIGURES 27–33 ); tegulum generally ovoid, with slender embolus originating proximally or prolaterally; embolus free of subtegulum, associated basally with large membranous conductor; embolus extending towards or around distal end of tegulum, closely associated with prolateral groove in cymbium ( Fig. 30 View FIGURES 27–33 ) and conductor ( Fig. 31 View FIGURES 27–33 ), and at its distal end with deep groove in apical tegular process ( Figs 30–33 View FIGURES 27–33 , 36–38 View FIGURES 34–38 , 41–43 View FIGURES 39–43 ); median apophysis absent.