Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988

Baptista, Renner Luiz Cerqueira, Castanheira, Pedro De Souza & Prado, André Wanderley Do, 2018, Notes on the orb-weaving spider genus Alpaida (Araneae, Araneidae) with description of four new species from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Zootaxa 4407 (3), pp. 321-345: 339-343

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Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988


Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988 

( Figs. 11–12View FIGURES 11View FIGURES 12, Map 2)

Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988: 438  , fig. 340–341 (only females, male paratype misidentified) Alpaida caxias Levi, 1988: 439  , fig. 346–347. New synonymy

Type material. Alpaida tijuca  : BRAZIL: ♀, holotype, ♂, paratype (misidentified), Rio de Janeiro  , Rio de Janeiro, Parque Nacional da Tijuca  [(coll. M. Eugenio, MNRJ 58145), not MNRJ 58146 as in Levi (1988), see Silva- Moreira et al. (2010)], examined; 2 ♀, paratypes, Rio de Janeiro, Petrópolis  [(MNRJ 1818), not MNRJ 286 as in Levi (1988), see Silva-Moreira et al. (2010)], examined; 1 ♀, paratype, Rio de Janeiro, Vassouras, Fazenda da Cachoeira  (sub “Faxenda da Castaneira”) (J. O. Bøving-Petersen, ZMUC), examined (photos).

Alpaida caxias  : BRAZIL: ♂, holotype, Rio de Janeiro, Duque de Caxias, Est.  Rio de Janeiro  (coll. M. Alvarenga, AMNH), not examined.

Diagnosis. Alpaida tijuca  shares with A. itauba Levi, 1988  , A. imperatrix  new species and A. imperialis  new species a palp with a roundish terminal apophysis, bearing a long and clearly projected distal lobe and a flattened, digitiform basal prong ( Fig. 11CView FIGURES 11, Levi 1988, fig. 391, 347, sub A. caxias  ). However, A. tijuca  has a complex pattern of yellow and dark patches on the carapace, a larger and strongly sclerotized epigynum and a translucent hood over the terminal apophysis ( Fig. 11A, C –EView FIGURES 11, 12A, C –DView FIGURES 12, Levi 1988, fig. 336–338, 346–347, sub A. caxias  ). The other three species have a large uniform black or dark brown patch covering the carapace, a small and delicate epigynum, with short and rounded scape, and lack a hood ( Fig. 1AView FIGURE 1, 2A, C –DView FIGURE 2, 3AView FIGURE3, 4A, C –EView FIGURE 4, Levi 1988, fig. 386–390). The palp of A. tijuca  is also distinct from those species due to the tegular hook placed in an inner and distal position in relation to the tegular lobe and the thin and elongated embolus ( Fig. 11C –EView FIGURES 11).

On the other hand, A. tijuca  seems most similar to Alpaida iguazu Levi, 1988  , judging by the original description and drawings ( Levi, 1988, fig. 330–333), as both species share a striking similar colour pattern on the carapace and abdomen and an epigynum much alike, with scape of a contrasting lighter colour, and roundish swollen lips, exposing most of the posterior plate due to a large concavity on the posterior edge, posterior plate constricted and yellowish in the middle, due to the large and swollen posterior rim. However, A. tijuca  has larger epigynum, around 2x wider than longer in ventral view and around 1.5x wider than longer in posterior view, more elongated scape, reaching far beyond the posterior rim, larger and more swollen lips, and larger and wider swollen subquadrate posterior rim. Furthermore, the male Levi attributed to A. iguazu  ( Levi, 1988, fig. 334–335) probably belongs to another species, as the palp morphology is very different from A. tijuca  . Judging by the similarities in epigynum of the female holotype of A. iguazu  and specimens from A. tijuca  , they may even be synonyms, but only an examination of more specimens of A. iguazu  (currently not available) would allow a formal taxonomic act.

Synonymy justification. Levi (1988) described Alpaida tijuca  based on a female holotype and a male paratype (MNRJ 58145, examined) from Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro  , Rio de Janeiro  state, Brazil, and three other female paratypes also from localities in the same state: two females from Petrópolis and another female from “Faxenda da Castaneira”. This last locality was misspelled by Levi. After the picture of the label graciously sent to us by Nikolaj Scharff, curator of arachnids at the ZMUC (Copenhagen), we found that the paratype was collected at “Fazenda da Cachoeira”, by J. O. Bøving-Petersen, probably in the 1891–1893 period. This farm was the official residence of Bøving-Petersen in Rio de Janeiro  state. It was an important coffee farm, located nearby the Paraíba river, in the municipality of Vassouras ( Madsen 1911, Alegrio 2016). Just one page after A. tijuca, Levi (1988)  described Alpaida caxias  , based only on a male holotype (AMNH, not examined) from Duque de Caxias, a municipality also at Rio de Janeiro  state, Brazil.

The matching of the females of A. tijuca  to the only male studied by Levi was plausible. However, after examining the types and abundant specimens of A. tijuca  , we found that the male attributed to A. tijuca  by Levi is actually a male of Alpaida imperatrix  new species. The true male of A. tijuca  is the male Levi described as the holotype of A. caxias  , collected in Duque de Caxias, about 20 to 30 km from Parque Nacional da Tijuca.

Levi (1988) stated that the male of A. tijuca  he studied had “coloration as in female”, but there are several differences in colour pattern between these specimens that proved to be useful to separate Alpaida imperatrix  new species from A. tijuca  . Levi’s male specimen has a large and solid darkened brown stripe on the carapace. It is larger at the eye region and tapers toward the abdomen, especially after the fovea ( Levi 1988, fig. 340). That is the same pattern seen in all specimens from both sexes of Alpaida imperatrix  new species ( Fig. 1A –BView FIGURE 1, 2A –BView FIGURE 2), from Rio de Janeiro  city and Macaé, Rio de Janeiro  state. Other characteristics common to all those specimens are an orange sternum with only a small blackish brown dot or streak in the center and usually with blackened margins, venter pale yellow, with only a blackened, sometimes U-shaped, stripe at the middle, a black stripe near the spinnerets and two longitudinal black stripes on the edges at each side ( Fig. 1AView FIGURE 1) and metatarsi and tarsi uniformly orange brown, without dark rings ( Fig. 1BView FIGURE 1).

The palp of Levi’s male from Tijuca ( Levi 1988, fig. 341) and the palps of both males of Alpaida imperatrix  new species from Macaé ( Fig. 1C –EView FIGURE 1) have similar conformation, but there are some differences in size and proportion. The male from Tijuca is larger and also has bigger palps. The terminal apophysis is bulkier, more rounded and concave, with the medial rim higher and with the basal prong wider at the basis and with a more acute tip. Also, the median apophysis is larger, more concave and with a larger medial lobe. An additional male from Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca ( MNRJ 7441), also in the Rio de Janeiro  city, is intermediate in size and has a palp more similar to Macaé specimens, with a terminal apophysis less rounded and a basal prong more digitiform.

Notwithstanding those small differences on the palps, we consider that all those specimens represent the normal range of variation inside a species. For now, it is better to ascribe them to Alpaida imperatrix  new species, until additional specimens are known and the intraspecific variation may be better assessed.

On the other hand, the female of A. tijuca  ( Fig. 12A –BView FIGURES 12; Levi 1988, fig. 338) has a complex pattern of darkened brown stripes and orange yellow spots (same colour as the remaining carapace) covering the anterior part of the carapace. There are at least 3 pairs of orange yellow spots scattered over the cephalic areas. This pattern is strikingly similar to the pattern of the male of A. caxias  (sensu Levi 1988, fig. 346) and the males we examined ( Fig. 11A –BView FIGURES 11). Other similar characteristics of males and females are the orange sternum with a large black spot in the center, the almost entirely blackened venter, with only two yellow lateral stripes ( Figs. 11BView FIGURES 11 and 12BView FIGURES 12; Levi 1988, fig. 339) and legs with many black or dark brown rings, even at the metatarsus and tarsus. Many males of A. caxias (sensu Levi 1988)  and females of A. tijuca  have been collected together, in several municipalities from Rio de Janeiro  state, as Macaé, Petrópolis and Rio de Janeiro  city (in both Tijuca and Pedra Branca). Following the reasoning above, the synonymy of A. caxias  to A. tijuca  is clear-cut and supported by abundant specimens from many localities of Rio de Janeiro  and Espírito Santo state.

Natural History. The webs of Alpaida tijuca  are relatively large vertical orb-webs (20–30 cm wide) placed near logs and tree-trunks in dark places in the forest. The spider usually rests over the bark of the log or trunk during the day, but it continues to monitor the web through a signal thread. Most specimens were collected through the use of the “looking down” and “cryptic” techniques.

MAP 2. Updated distribution of Alpaida atomaria  , A. tijuca  and A. venger  . Ǫ = Specimens examined; □ = SpeciesLink data.

New records. BRAZIL, Espírito Santo: Anchieta  : CSV (Pasto), 20.VIII.2008, looking down, A. Pérez- González coll., 1 ♀ ( UFRJ 1416View Materials); idem, CSV ( Mangue )  , 18.VIII.2008, cryptic, A. Pérez-González coll., 1 ♀ (UFRJ 1430); 19.VIII.2008, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀, 1 immature (UFRJ 1431); 18.VIII.2008, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♂ ( UFRJ 1432View Materials). Minas Gerais: Catas Altas  : Caraça (secondary woods nearby park’s entrance)  , 03.X.2010, R. Baptista coll., 4 ♀, 1 immature (UFRJ 0719); 05.X.2010, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ ( UFRJ 0742View Materials); Rio Preto, Fazenda  do Luluca   , 14–20.v.2002, R. Baptista et al. coll., 2 ♂, 2 ♀, 3 immatures ( MNRJ 1View Materials 587); Rio de Janeiro  : Cachoeiras de Macacu: Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu   , 11.III.2001, R. Baptista et. al. coll., 1 ♀ (MNRJ 03059); 8–12.xi.2001, Giupponi, A., González, A., Pedroso, D. & Frota, D. coll., 1 ♀ ( MNRJ 01633View Materials); Macaé: Terminal Cabiúnas ( Mata da Fazenda )  , 26.III.2010, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ (UFRJ 1433); 17.III.2011, cryptic, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ ( UFRJ 1434View Materials); idem, Terminal Cabiúnas ( Mata da Odebei )  , 15.III.2011, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 2 ♀, 3 immatures (UFRJ 1465); 22.V.2013, cryptic, G. Miranda coll., 1 ♀, 2 immatures (UFRJ 1 435); 13.VIII.2013, cryptic, G. Miranda coll., 2 ♀, 1 immature (UFRJ 1436); 20.II.2014, looking up, O. Villareal coll., 1 ♀, 1 immature (UFRJ 1437); 14.VIII.2014, looking down, O. Villareal coll., 1 ♂, 1 immature ( UFRJ 1438View Materials); idem, Terminal Cabiúnas ( Mata do Gasoduto )  , 22.XI.2013, litter sieving, D. R. Pedroso coll., 1 ♂ ( UFRJ 1439View Materials); Mendes: Centro Marista São José das Paineiras ( Sede ) 22° 30’ 35.1” S, 043° 45’ 16.5” W, 551 mGoogleMaps  , 05–08.V.2010, R. Baptista coll., 2 ♀ (UFRJ 1440); 27.IV.2011, R. Baptista et al. coll., 1 ♀, 1 immature (UFRJ 1466); 25.II.2015, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀, 1 immature ( UFRJ 1441View Materials); idem, Fazenda Arvoredo ( Porteira ) 22° 30’ 10.3” S, 043° 45’ 14.5” W, 537 mGoogleMaps  , 10.V.2014, sweeping, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ ( UFRJ 1442View Materials); idem, Fazenda Arvoredo ( Encruzilhada ) 22° 30’ 16.8” S, 043° 45’ 34.6” W, 510 mGoogleMaps  , 31.VIII.2014, cryptic, A. do Prado coll., 1 ♂ ( UFRJ 1443View Materials); Nova Friburgo, Furnas do Cão Sentado   , 27.iii.1996, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ ( MNRJ 01563View Materials); Rio de Janeiro  : Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca, Camorim ( Sede ) 22° 58’ 12.0” S, 043° 26’ 16.4” W, 160 mGoogleMaps  , 02.VI.2013, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 4 ♀, 9 immatures (UFRJ 1444); 02.VI.2013, looking up, P. Castanheira coll., 1 ♂, 1 ♀ (UFRJ 1445); 02.VI.2013, looking up, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀, 1 immature (UFRJ 1 446); 15.IX.2013, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 2 ♂, 2 f #, 2 immatures (UFRJ 1447); 15.IX.2013, looking up, P. Castanheira coll., 1 ♂, 1 immature (UFRJ 1448); 22.IX.2013, cryptic, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♂ (UFRJ 1449); 15– 24.III.2014, pitfall traps, R. Baptista & P. Castanheira coll., 1 ♀ (UFRJ 1467); 07.IV.2014, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 2 ♀, 4 immatures ( UFRJ 1View Materials 450); idem, Camorim ( Açude trail) 22° 58’ 08.3” S, 043° 26’ 38.5” W, 342 mGoogleMaps  , 09.I.2014, cryptic, R. Baptista, 1 ♀, 1 immature ( UFRJ 1451View Materials); idem, Pau-da-Fome ( Figueira trail) 22° 55’ 57.0” S, 043° 26’ 32.3” W, 138 mGoogleMaps  , 14–22.IX.2013, pitfall traps, R. Baptista & P. Castanheira coll., 1 ♂ ( UFRJ 1452View Materials); idem, Pau-da-Fome ( Padaria trail) 22° 56’ 12.8” S, 043° 26’ 29.1” W, 133 mGoogleMaps  , 13.VI.2013, cryptic, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀, 1 immature (UFRJ 1 453); 22.IX.2013, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ ( UFRJ 1454View Materials); idem, Tijuca Forest   , 24.ix.1985, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ ( MNRJ 1562View Materials); São Paulo: Ubatuba: Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar, Núcleo Picinguaba ( Trilha do Tronco )  , 09.V.2008, beating, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♂ (UFRJ 1468); 09.V.2008, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ ( UFRJ 1469View Materials); idem, Núcleo Picinguaba   , XI.2007, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♂ (UFRJ 1470).

Distribution: A. tijuca  was known only from central Rio de Janeiro  state, namely from the municipalities of Rio de Janeiro and Petrópolis. Its  geographic range is now expanded to northern (Macaé) and central-south (Mendes) Rio  de state, southeastern Espírito Santo state ( Anchieta  ), central Minas Gerais state ( Catas Altas  ) and northeastern São Paulo state (Ubatuba), all in southeastern Brazil (Map 2).


American Museum of Natural History


Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro














Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988

Baptista, Renner Luiz Cerqueira, Castanheira, Pedro De Souza & Prado, André Wanderley Do 2018

Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988 : 438

Levi, 1988 : 438
Levi, 1988 : 439