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Descriptions of New Taxa

A Supplement to Salticidae Diagnostic Drawings Library

by Jerzy Proszynski 1997

Genus Rafalus Proszynski, 1999

  • See also Drawings
  • Type species: Rafalus christophori sp. n.

    Etymology: named for the late Dr. Jan Rafalski (1909-1995), professor of zoology at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. Dr. Rafalski, an arachnologist, supervised and advised research of many young scientists which resulted in conferring over 100 magister (=MSc) degrees, 16 Dr. (=PhD) and 18 Dr. hab. (=DSc) degrees. He is remembered with gratitude by large number of followers, including the Author of this paper.

    Description of this genus was prompted by the discovery of several new species, distributed over the Eremic environments of the Near East and East Africa, together with some closely related forms known from middle and central Asia. Data for particular species, known mainly from a single, or a few specimens, are scarce. The Rafalus species are cryptically colored, ground dwelling small spiders, most probably occurring singly and are difficult to find. Behavioral observations are lacking and matching of sexes, done for two species, is tentative. Searching by the author for females of Rafalus in two localities on the Negev Desert, where males were captured in pitfall traps, gave no results. The existing collections contain mainly specimens collected as single individuals, no males and females were collected in the same locality. The present descriptions are based on all the known specimens kept in the arachnological collections of the world. The species, described here as new, come from the desert regions of Israel and Sinai; presumably a similar ecology requirements are true also for the Yemen and Aden species, reclassified here. Additional species Aelurillus variegatus (KRONEBERG, 1875), comb. n. from Uzbekistan and Aelurillus wittmeri PRóSZYńSKI, 1978 from Bhutan should also be reclassified into this genus.

    Diagnosis. An Aelurillinae salticid characterized by legs III being the longest (rarely about equal to legs IV) in both sexes and by higher, convex cephalothorax; in males single tibial apophysis without a bunch of stiff setae; female epigyne with two indistinct openings posteriorly, channels long and broad, bent "S" like, and very small spermathecae located transversally.

    GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE GENUS

    The genus Rafalus gen. n. can be easily recognized by the genital organs. In males, the palpal organ is of the Aelurillinae type, with a single, thin, palpal apophysis, comparable to that of Langona SIMON, 1901, from which it differs by the lack of characteristic bunch of hard bristles and setae, scales are also different. In females the epigyne is externally comparable with Phlegra SIMON, 1876, but has much simpler internal structure, from Aelurillus SIMON, 1884 differs by the absence of sclerotized "wings". Both sexes differ from Phlegra and even more from Langona by the gently rounded profile of the cephalothorax, which appears short and relatively higher, with the eye field gently inclined anteriorly, rising to the highest point at eyes III, followed by the gentle thoracic slope which at variable distance turns into more abrupt posterior slope. Legs III are longer than legs IV in both sexes, which makes clear difference with remaining Aelurillinae: Aelurillus, Langona and Phlegra, where legs IV are the longest (except for cases of individual variation in which III and IV are almost equal or, more rarely III are indistinctly longer). ALE set somewhat above AME, the difference being about 1/6th of ALE diameter in males, 1/4th in females, which resembles some Aelurillus (except for the conveniens group, where ALE are set higher). The eye field is narrower posteriorly (mean 8 %), whereas in Phlegra it is practically rectangular.

    Body proportions in Rafalus.

    Cephalothorax: length vary (in all studied specimens of allspecies) 1.70-2.80-4.11 mm (shortest-mean-longest), the height vary 45-53-58% (all % of length of cephalothorax); the width of the cephalothorax at eyes III is 65-72.46-83 %, maximal width of cephalothorax 65-74.90-87%. Eye field of variable length, rather short, extending over 35-42.53-50% of cephalothorax, trapezoidal, narrowing posteriorly (by 0 to mean -4.92% to maximum -8%) its width at eyes I is 53-62.53-73% and 50-57.76-66% at eyes III; eyes III are located close to the dorso-lateral edge. The profile of the cephalothorax is gently rounded and without really flat surface; anterior slope of the eye field rises gently as a flat inclined surface approaching eyes III, which are located at the highest point of the cephalothorax; eye field is depressed between the ALE, slightly also between eyes III; there is a gentle, rounded slope from eyes III to about 82% of the length of the cephalothorax where a steep posterior slope begins.

    Shape of abdomen elongate oval: length 81-91.09-107 %, width 61-67-79 %, broadest behind the middle, slightly narrower than the width of the cephalothorax; dorsally flat; anterior tip is hardened and forms a small scutum, usually hidden under setae. Legs robust, similar; their lengths (in % of 5 segments of leg I) in decreasing order is in males: III 134-137.42-145%, IV 116-128.14-147%, II 100-101.71-105%, I 100%; III 136-144-155%, IV 115-130-154%, II 91-103.71-109%, I 100 %. in females.

    Biometrics of the studied Rafalus species: species uncertain 3, 1, 2, feliksi, christophori, insignitus, karskii, stanislawi.

    «LM2»species ┌-uncertain--─┐ feli ┌-R. christophori─┐ insig kars ┌-stanislawi─┐ 3- female 1- female 2- female female holo Elat Elat 1 female female female male male male ┌─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐ LC mm 3.12 2.80 3.27 4.11 2.96 2.70 2.44 3.03 3.00 3.40 1.70 1.96 1.87 LE % 46 50 44 41 41 43 47 44 40 35 45 39 38 HC % 49 55 53 53 54 51 52 54 57 45 58 56 52 WE I % 66 73 62 59 66 67 71 64 63 57 58 53 54 WE III % 58 66 55 55 61 60 66 59 57 53 58 50 53 DWE 1-3% -8 -7 -7 -4 -5 -7 -7 -5 -6 -4 0 -3 -1 WC III % 78 79 65 83 72 67 71 73 73 66 81 67 67 Max WC % 78 79 65 83 74 69 74 73 - - 87 75 67 LA % - 89 107 94 87 81 89 - 93 73 100 95 94 Max WA % - 63 79 69 61 57 63 - - - 71 67 73 Total length of 5 segments of legs in % of leg I MALES Leg I Leg II Leg III Leg IV R. christophori holotype male 5.40=100% 103% 134% 117% R. christophori Elat male 4.88=100% 100% 134% 116% R. christophori Elat male 4.63=100% 101% 136% 114% R. christophori Sinai male 4.12=100% 102% 145% 131% R. stanislawi male 3.02=100% 100% 142% 132% R. stanislawi male 3.22=100% 105% 137% 140% R. stanislawi male 3.10=100% 101% 134% 147% FEMALES R. sp 1 female 4.90=100% 107% 155% 154% R. christophori Sinai female 4.65=100% 108% 138% 142% R. christophori W.Mish. female 4.85=100% 109% 155% 136% R. feliksi female 7.57=100% 91% 136% 122% R. sp. 3 female 5.58=100% 101% 143% 121% R. sp 2 female 5.58=100% 104% 141% 120% R. karski female 3.35=100% 106% 140% 115%

    KEY TO SPECIES OF Rafalus

    1. males .............................................................. - 2.

    - females ............................................................. - 3.

    2.(1) Clypeus with two rows of white setae, orbital setae around eyes I orange or fawn, fans of setae on pedipalps orange, pedipalpal tibia straight and thin ....................................... - R. christophori

    - Clypeus with single, broad row of white setae, orbital setae around eyes I whitish grey, fans of setae on pedipalps white, pedipalpal tibia bent, broader ................................................... - R. stanislawi

    3(1) Cephalothorax covered with striking dense white setae, long and adpres~sed; abdomen with indistinct yellow spots surrounded grey

    - R. karskii - cephalothorax without dense white setae, ............................ 4

    4(3) thorax high, flattened area absent or short ....................... 5

    - thorax, flattened area longer ...................................... 6

    5(4) flattened curvature behind eye field extends for 1/3rd of the thorax ................................................... - R. christophori

    - . thoracic slope begins immediately behind the eye field, flattened curvature absent, no rounded surface ............ - R. sp. 2 6(4) flattened curvature behind eye field extends for 3/4th of thorax; specimen distinctly larger; cephalothorax brown; eye field with mixed setae white, much denser in the centre; abdomen, covered densely with light sandy brown setae - R. feliksi

    - flattened curvature extends for about 3/5th of the thorax .......... - 7

    7(6) specimen light sandy, eye field's anterior setae predominantly white, darker between eyes III; abdominal median streak light .........- R. sp. 3

    - specimen dark brown; eye field's anterior setae predominantly dark with white setae in the centre; darker abdominal median streak, delimited by two rows of 7 indistinct white spots ............................... - R. sp. 1