Liphistius tempurung Platnick, 1997

Peter J. Schwendinger, 2017, A revision of the trapdoor spider genus Liphistius (Mesothelae: Liphistiidae) in peninsular Malaysia; part 1, Revue suisse de Zoologie 124 (2), pp. 391-445 : 430-433

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.893555


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Liphistius tempurung Platnick, 1997


Liphistius tempurung Platnick, 1997 View in CoL

Figs 21-22 View Fig. 21 View Fig. 22

Liphistius tempurung Platnick in Platnick, Schwendinger & Steiner, 1997: 4 View in CoL -6, figs 10-11 (description of female).

Type: AMNH; female holotype (not examined); Malaysia, Perak, Gua Tempurung ; 18.V.1996; leg. H. Steiner.

Material examined: MHNG, sample MAL-04/17; 3 males (matured 25.IX., 26.IX.2004, 13.XI.2005), 6 females (moulted 21.X.2004; 9.XII.2004; 19.XI.2004 and 3.IV.2005; 30.XII.2004 and 17.X.2005 and 24.V.2006 and 22.I.2007; IX.2004 and 13.IX.2005 and 8.II.2006; 8.X.2004 and 1.III.2005); Perak, 25 km south of Ipoh, Gua Tempurung , 4°24’58’’N, 101°11’15’’E, 90 m (limestone cave, dark zone) GoogleMaps ; 22.VI.2004; leg. P.J. Schwendinger. – MHNG, sample 200/01; 1 juvenile; Perak, Gunung Lanno, Gua Cicak , 80 m ; 16.XI.2001; leg. H. Steiner. – MHNG, sample MAL-04/16; 3 males (matured 31.XII.2004, 23.I.2005, 17.VI.2005), 3 females (moulted 8.I.2005; 17.I.2005); Perak, Gunung Lanno, Gua Cicak ; 21.VI.2004; leg. P.J. Schwendinger.

Diagnosis: Medium-sized, light brown-coloured species in both sexes. Similar to L. batuensis , males distinguished by much shorter and stouter megaspines on tibial apophysis of palp ( Fig. 21 View Fig. 21 E-G cf. Fig. 19A View Fig. 19 ); proximal edge of tegulum without denticles ( Fig. 21B View Fig. 21 cf. Fig. 19H View Fig. 19 ); retrolateral bridge between tegulum and contrategulum unbroken ( Fig. 21B View Fig. 21 cf. Fig. 19H View Fig. 19 ); contrategulum with more pronounced, rather conical ventral process; distal edge with several short parallel ridges situated near base of ventral process and directed towards embolus; dorsal apex of contrategulum wider, without ridges ( Fig. 21 View Fig. 21 I-L cf. Fig. 19D View Fig. 19 ); embolus proper more slender ( Fig. 21 View Fig. 21 A-B cf. Fig. 19E, H View Fig. 19 ), dorsal wall of its sclerotised part without sharply bent end overlapping membranous part ( Fig. 21C View Fig. 21 , I-L cf. Fig. 19 View Fig. 19 D-F, I); base of embolus complex without sharp proventral angle ( Fig. 21 View Fig. 21 I-L cf. Fig. 19 View Fig. 19 D-E, G), paraembolic plate less elevated ( Fig. 21B View Fig. 21 cf. Fig. 19H View Fig. 19 ). Females distinguished from those of L. batuensis by anterior and posterior margins of vulval plate distinctly invaginated ( Fig. 22 View Fig. 22 cf. Fig. 20 View Fig. 20 ); posterior part of genital atrium more strongly curved ventrad, clearly visible on female specimen when viewed from posteroventrally ( Fig. 22 View Fig. 22 M-N); poreplate with much smaller CDO ( Fig. 22A, C, E, G, I, K View Fig. 22 cf. Fig. 20A View Fig. 20 , C-D, F-G).

Description of male (matured 26.IX.2004): Colour in alcohol (slightly darker in life): Sclerotised parts light brown, except for cream-coloured proximal portion of chelicerae, whitish membranes of prosoma and creamcoloured membranes of opisthosoma.

Bristles on carapace: Short bristles along all margins (longest and strongest in front of eye mound); few on coxal elevations; four short bristles anterior to fovea; thick (spinelike) bristles on eye mound.

Scopula: Thin (weakest and narrowest on tarsus IV) and only distally divided by median stripe on all leg tarsi; covering distal half of ventral side of tarsi I-III, only distal one-third of tarsus IV.

Cheliceral teeth: Eleven small teeth of different sizes on promargin of right cheliceral groove, twelve on left cheliceral groove.

Palp (illustrations mostly of male matured 13.XI.2005): Tibial apophysis basally quite wide in ventral view, distinctly set back from distal margin of tibia ( Fig. 21E View Fig. 21 ), carrying four medium-long apical megaspines, the second from ventral situated clearly lower (more proximal) than others ( Fig. 21 View Fig. 21 E-F). Apical lobes of cymbium distinct, prodorsal one longer and narrower than proventral one ( Fig. 21H View Fig. 21 ). Paracymbium of average length but quite shallow ( Fig. 21A, D View Fig. 21 ), carrying long thick bristles in a widely spaced group on non-elevated cumulus ( Fig. 21A, D View Fig. 21 ). Subtegulum without apophysis. Tegulum with proximal edge indistinct and completely without denticles, distinguished from rest of tegulum only by a stronger pigmentation ( Fig. 21B View Fig. 21 ). Pigmented bridge between tegulum and contrategulum on retrolateral side of palpal organ unbroken ( Fig. 21B View Fig. 21 ). Contrategulum with distinct, somewhat conical (in distal view) ventral process, with several parallel ridges directed towards embolus and situated near base of ventral process; dorsal apex of contrategulum large and widely toungeshaped ( Fig. 21I View Fig. 21 ). Para-embolic plate short ( Fig. 21B View Fig. 21 ); no sharp proventral angle on and no sharp edge below para-embolic plate. Embolus proper with moderately wide apex ( Fig. 21 View Fig. 21 A-B); dorsal and ventral walls of sclerotised part equally wide, without modification ( Fig. 21I View Fig. 21 ), retrolateral wall carrying a distinct distal keel ( Fig. 21B View Fig. 21 ); membranous part of embolus proper narrow, unpigmented throughout ( Fig. 21C View Fig. 21 ).

Measurements: Total length 14.55; carapace 5.69 long, 5.25 wide; opisthosoma 6.04 long, 5.15 wide; eye mound 0.67 long, 0.83 wide; palpal coxae 1.68 long, 1.19 wide; labium 0.45 long, 0.99 wide; sternum 2.52 long, 1.68 wide (on ventral surface 0.79); palp 9.80 long (2.97 + 1.73 + 3.47 + 1.63); leg I 16.78 long (4.85 + 2.13 + 3.61 +4.16 + 2.03); leg II 18.07 long (4.95 + 2.13 + 3.96 + 4.65 + 2.38); leg III 19.65 long (5.00 + 2.13 + 4.21 + 5.64 + 2.67); leg IV 25.45 long (6.04 + 2.38 + 5.25 + 8.12 + 3.66).

Additions to description of female: Posterior margin of genital sternite widely W-shaped ( Fig. 22 View Fig. 22 A-I), in slightly posteroventral view posterior edge of posterior stalk of vulval plate clearly visible between paramedian lobes ( Fig. 22 View Fig. 22 M-N). Vulval plate ( Fig. 22 View Fig. 22 A-I, K) moderately wide; large parts of poreplate unpigmented, particularly central area around CDO; CDO indistinct, composed of a small drop-shaped or longitudinally slit-shaped opening lying within a larger hollow with a distinct, sunken anterior margin and an indistinct (level with poreplate) posterior margin ( Fig. 22A, C, E, G, I View Fig. 22 ); receptacular cluster large and complex ( Fig. 22B, D, F, H View Fig. 22 ), slightly protruding beyond widely invaginated anterior margin of poreplate; posterior stalk strongly pigmented, more or less completely separated from pigmented areas of poreplate, its posterior portion finely pitted and bent ventrad at right angles; genital atrium with few or without lateral hairs, most vulvae without posterior hairs ( Fig. 22A, C, E, G, I, K View Fig. 22 ).

Variation: Carapace lengths in males (n=6) 5.51-6.46, carapace widths 4.92-5.87; in the largest females with a well-developed vulval plate (n=9) 5.94-7.87 and 4.80- 6.69, respectively. In two females from Gua Tempurung both AME are completely absent, in other specimens they are reduced (without cornea), tiny (smaller than the pits from which nearby bristles arise) or normally developed. There is only minor variation in the tarsal scopula of males: covering distal two-thirds of tarsus II in two males (both from Gua Cicak), only distal half in all other males; being very thin (in two males from Gua Cicak) or thin (in remaining males) on tarsus IV, always weaker than on tarsi I-III.

Variation in the shape of the ventral process of the contrategulum is shown in Fig. 21 View Fig. 21 I-L, variation in the shape of vulval plates in Fig. 22 View Fig. 22 A-I, K. One male from the Gua Cicak has one of the four apical megaspines on its tibial apophysis weakly developed on both palps ( Fig. 21G View Fig. 21 ). The number of lateral hairs in the genital atrium of females ranges from a few to none ( Fig. 22 View Fig. 22 A- I); one female (from Gua Cicak) has additionally two paramedian hairs in the posterior part of its genital atrium ( Fig. 22I View Fig. 22 ). Females from Gua Cicak have more hairs in the genital atrium than females from the type locality. The CDO is relatively large and clearly discernible only in the two smallest females from each locality ( Fig. 22I, K View Fig. 22 ); in all larger females examined it is small and lies in a depression ( Fig. 22A, C, E, G View Fig. 22 ).

Biology: All specimens examined were collected from burrows in sandy or loamy soil on the floor in the aphotic zone of two caves. Unlike in L. batuensis , no nests were found on cave walls. Most burrows ran into the depth of the soil and were closed by a single trapdoor. Only one burrow ran under the soil surface and had a second door at the opposite end, about six centimetres away from the first door. From the main entrance up to eight quite long (as usual in cavedwelling Liphistius ) signal lines (the longest 20 cm) ran over the soil surface (in a few cases also over nearby rock). The trapdoor of the largest female was 1.8 cm long and 3.0 cm wide, in penultimate males trapdoors were 1.2-1.8 long and 2.0-2.8 wide.

Despite the fact that all spiders examined were found in the dark portions of these two caves, no noteworthy troglobiomorphic adaptations are visible, apart from a relatively light body colouration in all living spiders and a more or less distinct reduction of the AME in some spiders.

An illustrated presentation of L. tempurung (together with L. kanthan ) and its habitat is given in Steiner (1998). An extensive bibliography on Lipistius and many other animals in caves of Malaysia can be found on Liz Price’s website ( Price, 2017).

Distribution: Known only from inside two limestone caves ( Fig. 1 View Fig. 1 , localities 16-17), about 13 km apart, southeast of Ipoh in the Perak State. A short description of Gua Tempurung and photographs of the cave and some spider nests are given in Platnick et al. (1997: 2-3, figs 1-3).

Remarks: First reported from a “cave in Gunong Tempurong” by Bullock (1972: 138) under L. batuensis , this is a narrowly endemic species restricted to caves. Like the other cave-living Liphistius species in Malaysia [ L. batuensis , L. kanthan (currently on the IUCN list of critically endangered species; http:// and L. priceae sp. nov.], L. tempurung is at great risk of becoming extinct if overcollected, or if their habitats change or are destroyed. Quarrying of limestone hills for cement production is widespread in Malaysia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, and poses the greatest danger for these species.


American Museum of Natural History


Museum d'Histoire Naturelle














Liphistius tempurung Platnick, 1997

Peter J. Schwendinger 2017

Liphistius tempurung Platnick in Platnick, Schwendinger & Steiner, 1997 : 4

Platnick N. & Schwendinger P. J. & Steiner H. 1997: 4
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