Leptodrassex Murphy, 2007

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 : 11-12

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Leptodrassex Murphy, 2007


Genus Leptodrassex Murphy, 2007

Type species. Leptodrassus simoni Dalmas, 1919 , by original designation.

Diagnosis. Leptodrassex was defined by Murphy (2007) as a group of small, pale spiders usually 2–4 mm in length, with small teeth on the chelicerae (2–4 promarginal and 2 or 3 retromarginal teeth), with males lacking a dorsal scutum and the AME larger than the other eyes. The two new species described in this paper are very consistent in the presence of all of these characters, but the genitalic morphology differs slightly from the three currently known species from the Mediterranean, being more similar to the undescribed species from Kenya that Murphy (2007) included in his book. Leptodrassex can be separated from Leptodrassus by the cheliceral dentition, with the latter having two large angular translucent teeth on the promargin and four or five small conical teeth on the retromargin ( Murphy 2007). It can be distinguished from Leptopilos by the genitalic structure, with females of the latter having an epigyne with an anterior hood and males having a palp with several laminae ( Levy 2009). It can be separated from Neodrassex by the female genitalic structure, with the latter possessing a large, divided atrium and paired posterior epigynal processes ( Ott 2012, 2013), which are lacking in Leptodrassex . Lastly, it differs from Afrodrassex gen. nov. by the shorter embolus and presence of a median apophysis, and the short copulatory ducts of females.

Description. Small pale spiders ( Figs 3, 4 View FIGURES 1–6 , 45–47 View FIGURES 45–47 ), females 1.80–3.60 mm and males 1.65–2.80 mm in length; carapace creamy-white to yellow; carapace oval, eye region narrow, broadest between coxae II and III, without fovea; 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. All eyes surrounded by black rings, pigment continuous between anterior eyes ( Figs 45–47 View FIGURES 45–47 ); AER procurved in anterior view, slightly recurved in dorsal view; clypeus height slightly larger than AME diameter; AME largest, separated by approximately 1/2 to 3/4 their diameter, separated from ALE by 1/8 ALE diameter; PER strongly procurved in dorsal view; PME oval and flattened, PLE round, PME approximately 3/4 times PLE diameter; PME separated from each other and from PLE by distance between 1/2 to equal to their diameter; ALE and PLE almost touching; MOQ narrower anteriorly than posteriorly, anterior width slightly larger than MOQ length. Cheliceral dentition (southern African species): promargin with three teeth, usually middle tooth largest, distal tooth smallest, a tiny denticle; promargin with escort seta and rake setae ( Fig. 48 View FIGURES 48–59 ); retromargin with two or three subequal teeth and retromarginal escort seta ( Fig. 49 View FIGURES 48–59 ); endites with slightly depressed lateral margins, distal margins rounded, with distinct serrula and maxillar hair tuft ( Fig. 50 View FIGURES 48–59 ); serrula teeth with undulating sides ( Fig. 51 View FIGURES 48–59 ); labium trapezoid, slightly longer than wide, with rounded anterior margin. 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 45–47 View FIGURES 45–47 ); dorsum with single pair of sigilla, usually indistinct; dorsum and sides densely covered in feathery setae ( Fig. 52 View FIGURES 48–59 ), with scattered fine plumose setae, venter only with fine plumose setae ( Fig. 53 View FIGURES 48–59 ). Spinnerets (only observed in L. murphyi sp. nov.): ALS of female with two major ampullate gland spigots anteromesally, two large piriform gland spigots mesally, and three adjacent slender modified piriform gland spigots ( Fig. 54 View FIGURES 48–59 ); PMS of female with two large minor ampullate gland spigots mesally, one small cylindrical gland spigot posteriorly, one tartipore, and several small aciniform gland spigots peripherally ( Fig. 55 View FIGURES 48–59 ); PLS of female with only one large cylindrical gland spigot medially, two small minor ampullate gland spigots anteriorly, and six aciniform gland spigots peripherally ( Fig. 56 View FIGURES 48–59 ); ALS of male with two small major ampullate gland spigots anteromesally, two large piriform gland spigots medially, two slender modified piriform gland spigots adjacent to the anterior piriform gland spigot, and posterior nubbin ( Fig. 57 View FIGURES 48–59 ); PMS of male with two medial minor ampullate gland spigots, two tartipores, and several peripheral aciniform gland spigots ( Fig. 58 View FIGURES 48–59 ); PLS of male with single large minor ampullate gland spigot, one anterior tartipore, one posterior nubbin, and five peripheral aciniform gland spigots ( Fig. 59 View FIGURES 48–59 ). Leg formula 4213; legs densely covered in feathery setae, with scattered straight plumose setae between them, feathery setae sparse on tarsi ( Figs 63–67 View FIGURES 60–70 ); femora with distal retrolateral lyriform organ ( Figs 60, 61 View FIGURES 60–70 ); patellae with narrow indentation and lyriform organ on retrolateral side ( Figs 62–64 View FIGURES 60–70 ), with single proximal and distal erect long seta dorsally on patellae III and IV, sometimes lost during preservation; metatarsi with well-developed dorsal stopper distally ( Fig. 66 View FIGURES 60–70 ); tarsi with sparse chemosensory setae, two pairs of dorsal trichobothria, followed by single median trichobothrium, oval tarsal organ, and dense claw tufts ( Figs 67–70 View FIGURES 60–70 ); tarsal claws with three small ventral teeth ( Fig. 70 View FIGURES 60–70 ). Female epigyne with shallow paired ovoid atria, separated by narrow median septum, with atria frequently filled with secretory plugs ( Figs 71–73 View FIGURES 71–79 ); internal structure with short copulatory ducts, with spermathecae laterally positioned, with mesally-directed fertilization ducts. Male palpal femur and patella without apophyses, palpal patella with retrolateral lyriform organ ( Figs 74, 75 View FIGURES 71–79 ); palpal tibia with small prolateral and dorsal apophyses ( Fig. 76 View FIGURES 71–79 ) and dorsal and ventral retrolateral apophyses ( Figs 76–78 View FIGURES 71–79 ); cymbium pear-shaped, with dense setae distally on dorsal surface; tegulum generally ovoid, with very slender embolus originating proximally, entering groove in large membranous prolateral subtegulum, leading embolus to large prolateral distal apical tegular process with fine groove ( Figs 76–79 View FIGURES 71–79 ); retrolateral tegular process shorter, slightly curved ( Fig. 77 View FIGURES 71–79 ); median apophysis present in Palaearctic species and L. murphyi sp. nov., hook- (e.g. Murphy 2007: fig. 513) or spike-like ( Figs 76–78 View FIGURES 71–79 ).