Friday, September 4, 2015

A new recluse spider: Loxosceles guajira

Image of a close relative of the new species, L. laeta
Recluse spiders are members of the genus Loxosceles and are known under many different names, such as brown, fiddle-back, violin spiders or reapers. These are venomous spiders known for their bite, which sometimes produces a characteristic set of symptoms known as loxoscelism. This condition can occasionally occur after somebody was bitten by a  recluse spider. The affected area becomes dark and turns into a deep open sore as the skin around the bite dies. 

So far only two species of the genus were known from Colombia but now a new one was found in a cave near Riohacha in the Department of La Guajira. The latter was also used to name the new species,  Loxosceles guajira.

For the experts: Only two species of Loxosceles occur in Colombia: Loxosceles lutea Keyserling, 1877 and Loxosceles rufipes (Lucas 1834). In this paper, we describe a new Colombian species that we include in the laeta species group due to the male’s sub-oval palpal bulb, elongated embolus longer than the bulb’s diameter, swollen palpal tibia at least two times longer than the tarsus, and by the female’s blunt seminal receptacle lacking any globular lobes at the tip (Gertsch 1967). We also provide new records for L. lutea and L. rufipes.

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