Diagnoses of genera
of South East Asia: Cryptic
salticids mottled brown. Found in or near webs
in shrubs or on walls. General remarks: Considerable interest was generated
after 1978, when Portia was observed to construct a web (as opposed
to a retreat). This was the first record of a web-building salticid. It tends
to live on its own little web built either in large webs such as those constructed
by certain mygalomorphs and araneids or near the scruffy webs of spiders who
build on walls or in sheds, etc. Hanging in such webs there are usually bits
of detritus such as little fragments of dead leaves, twigs or even bits of
dirt. The colour pattern and hairy nature of Portia provide it with
a remarkable likeness to such pieces of detritus. It requires good eyesight
and often a lot of patience before one spots a specimen. Often we have emptied
an apparently empty web into a sweep net only to find a Portia specimen
wandering about in the bottom of the bag. Portia is a spider eater.
Although Portia moves almost imperceptibly slowly when approaching
prey, the final pounce is at lightning speed.
Genus: Brettus. The only species of Brettus which occurs in our area is the type species, B. cingulatus Thorell, 1895. Little more was recorded until the genus was revised by Wanless in 1979. Brettus looks like Portia and was for some time synonymised with Portia. Although not firmly established, it is thought that Brettus might well live like Portia. The cephalus is high but differs from that of Portia being convex and not flat. In plan, the carapaces of the two genera are similar. The overall colour is similar but in Brettus the broad white marginal band runs along the entire length, and the white, median, thoracic band is lacking. The abdomen of Brettus lacks the erect tufts of Portia, in other respects the abdomen and legs of Brettus are comparable to those of Portia. Distribution: A total of some six species of Brettus are known from Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar and Sulawesi. Murphy & Murphy 2000: 330. By courtesy of the Authors' and the Malaysian Nature Society.
Copyright © for the page by J. Proszynski, 2000.