Diagnoses of genera of South East Asia: Cryptic salticids, mottled brown or grey, stealthy and not seen to jump. on tree trunks and mossy rocks in rainforest. General remarks: Salticids in this group tend to be very cryptic and live in rainforest habitats although some specimens have been collected in gardens near rainforest. Those, such as some Spartaeus species, live on tree trunks and are difficult to spot. These can often be induce give themselves away by the collector moving his hand over an area close to the tree trun (a technique often used by entomologists). This long-legged spider does not jump but moves smoothly and quickly to another position - and even then can be difficult to spot. Large trees with buttresses, rather than those with plain rounded bases, seem to be preferred. A colony Neobrettus was found among dead fronds on a banana free. The first impression gained was one was looking at a rotting frond with small patches of grey mould starting to grow. In life, grey hairs on these small salticids stand up on end much as one sees in certain style of modern hair style. However, it is more likely that the spider is actually mimicking a particularly unsavoury caterpillar. Not a great deal is known about the biology of this unusual group. No doubt, more information would be both rewarding to the observer and much appreciated by arachnologists in general. Genus: Portia. See also Koh, pp. 122-124. There are several different species in our area. One of the commonest is P. labiata. The cephalothorax is high with the rear eyes located nearby. The plane of the cephalic part slopes gently from the highest point to the front eyes whilst the thorax curves fairly steeply to the posterior edge. The carapace is broad, but longer than wide. In plan it is curved, with the widest part closer to the rear which is widely truncate, whilst near the front eyes it is briefly flared. The carapace is orange-brown in colour, covered in brown-black hairs and has a wedge-shaped white band running from the fovea to the rear edge and broad white marginal bands. From the front it has a characteristic broad white moustache and exceedingly hairy, light brown and white palps. Above the front median eyes, from a combination of the shape of the carapace and the colour, there appear to be two horns giving the spider a thoroughly demonic appearance. The abdomen is oval, slightly rounded at the front and slightly pointed at the rear. It is brownish with lighter markings and carries orange-brown hairs anteriorly and black hairs posteriorly. There are a number of characteristic tufts of erect, long orange-white hairs. The most notable feature of the legs is the contrast between the exceedingly long haired upper segments and the very thin tarsi and metatarsi. Presumably this arrangement is useful for making stealthy movements in the webs of potential prey. In general, the legs are dark brown in colour with light brownish-white markings. There are numerous, moderately strong spines. Murphy & Murphy 2000: 331. By courtesy of the Authors' and the Malaysian Nature Society.
Copyright © for the page by J. Proszynski, 1999.