Tolteca hesperia ( Gertsch, 1982 )

Huber, Bernhard A., Meng, Guanliang, Valdez-Mondragón, Alejandro, Král, Jiří, Ávila Herrera, Ivalú M. & Carvalho, Leonardo S., 2023, Short-legged daddy-long-leg spiders in North America: the genera Pholcophora and Tolteca (Araneae, Pholcidae), European Journal of Taxonomy 880 (1), pp. 1-89 : 49-55

publication ID 10.5852/ejt.2023.880.2173

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Tolteca hesperia ( Gertsch, 1982 )


Tolteca hesperia ( Gertsch, 1982) View in CoL

Figs 36A–B View Fig , 37–42 View Fig View Fig View Fig View Fig View Fig View Fig

Pholcophora hesperia Gertsch, 1982: 102 (part; see Remarks below), figs 34–36, 45–47 (♂ ♀).

Tolteca hesperia View in CoL – Huber 2000: 118 (part, see Remarks below), fig. 454 (other figures refer to T. oaxaca sp. nov.; see Remarks below).


Gertsch (1982) designated a male specimen from Sinaloa as holotype, and in the text description he explicitly refers to that specimen. However, it is not clear if the figures of the male ( Gertsch 1982: figs 34–36) are from the holotype or not. The procursus (narrowing gradually) and chelicerae (apophyses weakly protruding) suggest he drew another specimen of what is now considered a different species (maybe T. huahua sp. nov. or T. manzanillo sp. nov.). Gertsch’s (1982) figures from the female (Gertsch 1982: figs 45–47) are certainly not from a topotypical female as no such female was available to him. It is not possible to tell from Gertsch’s figures which species he illustrated.

The redescription of T. hesperia in Huber (2000) is mainly based on specimens from Oaxaca (2 mi SE of Niltepec) that are here considered a different species ( T. oaxaca sp. nov.). Only the illustration of the procursus ( Huber 2000: fig. 454) is from the holotype.

We have not restudied Gertsch’s (1982) T. hesperia specimens but consider all specimens except for those from Sinaloa to represent other species. Judging from the geographic closeness to newly collected specimens, Gertsch’s specimens from Colima probably represent T. sinnombre sp. nov. (10 mi S of Colima) and T. manzanillo sp. nov. (12 mi E of Manzanillo); those from Oaxaca probably represent T. oaxaca sp. nov. We cannot comment on the specimens from Baja California Sur listed in Gertsch (1982) and Huber (2000).


Distinguished from known congeners by the combination of: male genital bulb without dorsal ridge ( Fig. 38F View Fig ; unlike T. jalisco ); procursus tip abruptly narrowing ( Fig. 38C View Fig ; similar to T. sinnombre sp. nov., unlike other species); male cheliceral apophyses in lateral view with large angle against distal-frontal face of chelicera ( Fig. 38B View Fig ; ~60° versus 25–35° in other species; not checked in T. jalisco ); main epigynal plate band-like ( Fig. 39A, C View Fig ; rather than crescent-shaped as in T. manzanillo sp. nov., T. huahua sp. nov., and T. oaxaca sp. nov.); sacs in female internal genitalia ~40–50 µm long ( Fig. 40C, F; i.e View Fig ., longer than in T. jalisco and T. oaxaca , shorter than in T. sinnombre ).

Material examined

Holotype MEXICO – Sinaloa • ♂; 5 mi S of Mazatlán ; ~ 23.20° N, 106.36° W; ~ 10–20 m a.s.l.; 23 Jul. 1954; W.J. Gertsch leg.; AMNH; examined ( Huber 2000). GoogleMaps

New record

MEXICO – Sinaloa • 4 ♂♂, 1 ♀, and 2 cleared epigyna; ~ 3 km S of Rosario; 22.9584° N, 105.8490° W; 65 m a.s.l.; 9 Oct. 2019; B.A. Huber and A. Valdez-Mondragón leg.; one male used for SEM; ZFMK Ar 23953 GoogleMaps 12 ♀♀, 5 juvs, in pure ethanol; same collection data as for preceding; one female used for SEM, four female prosomata used for molecular work, two abdomens cleared and transferred to ZFMK Ar 23953; ZFMK Mex253 GoogleMaps 2 ♂♂; same collection data as for preceding; partly used for karyotype analyses; ZFMK Ar 23954 GoogleMaps 3 ♂♂, 2 ♀♀; same collection data as for preceding; partly used for µ-CT study; ZFMK Ar 23955 GoogleMaps 1 ♂, 4 ♀♀, 1 juv. (subadult male); same collection data as for preceding; LATLAX GoogleMaps .

Description (amendments; see Gertsch 1982; Huber 2000)

Male (ZFMK Ar 23953)

MEASUREMENTS. Total body length 1.40, carapace width 0.52. Distance PME-PME 40 µm; diameter PME 40 µm; distance PME-ALE 15 µm; distance AME-AME 10 µm; diameter AME 30 µm. Leg 1: 2.32 (0.65 + 0.17 + 0.57 + 0.60 + 0.33), tibia 2: 0.47, tibia 3: 0.43, tibia 4: 0.73; tibia 1 L/d: 7; diameters of leg femora 0.135, of leg tibiae 0.08.

COLOUR (in ethanol). Prosoma and legs monochromous ochre-yellow; abdomen ochre-grey, also monochromous.

BODY ( Fig. 36A View Fig ). Ocular area barely raised. Carapace without thoracic groove. Clypeus unmodified, only rim slightly more sclerotized, short (clypeus rim to ALE: 160 µm). Sternum wider than long (0.40/0.37), with pair of small but distinct anterior processes (~60 µm diameter at basis, ~60 µm long) near coxae 1. Abdomen globular.

CHELICERAE ( Figs 38A–B View Fig , 41A–B View Fig ). With pair of frontal apophyses pointing downwards, distance between tips of apophyses: 60 µm; without stridulatory files.

PALPS ( Fig. 37 View Fig ). Coxa unmodified; trochanter without process; femur proximally without process, distally widened but simple, slightly curved towards dorsal; femur-patella joints minimally shifted toward prolateral side; tibia very short, with two trichobothria; tibia-tarsus joints not shifted to one side; procursus very simple ( Figs 38C View Fig , 41C View Fig ), with distal ventral process; genital bulb ( Figs 38D–F View Fig , 41C–D View Fig ) large, complex, possibly indistinguishable from congeners.

LEGS. Without spines and curved hairs; with slightly increased density of short vertical hairs on tibia 1 ( Fig. 42A–C View Fig ; barely visible in dissecting microscope); retrolateral trichobothrium of tibia 1 at 64%; prolateral trichobothrium absent on tibia 1; tarsus 1 with five pseudosegments, all fairly distinct.

Variation (male)

Tibia 1 in three other newly collected males: 0.55, 0.57, 0.60.


In general, similar to male ( Fig. 36B View Fig ) but sternum without pair of anterior humps and tibia 1 without increased density of short vertical hairs. Total body length: ~1.20–1.40; tibia 1 in 12 newly collected females: 0.47–0.62 (mean 0.52). Epigynum ( Fig. 39 View Fig ) very short band-shaped anterior plate slightly protruding in lateral view; posterior plate wide, median part slightly protruding anteriorly. With distinct knob between epigynum and pedicel (accidentally missing in specimens shown in Figs 39 View Fig and 40 View Fig – the knob sometimes stays attached to the prosoma when the abdomen is detached from it). Internal genitalia ( Fig. 40 View Fig ) with pair of strong transversal sclerites, pair of distinct sacs (receptacles?), without (or with very small?) pore plates.


Apparently widely distributed in southern and central Sinaloa, Mexico ( Fig. 35 View Fig ). All specimens from outside of Sinaloa listed in Gertsch (1982) and Huber (2000) are here either considered to represent different (new) species (specimens from Colima and Oaxaca) or dubious (specimens from Baja California Sur – not re-examined).

Natural history

The newly collected spiders were found in the thin leaf litter layer and under stones in a low and quite dry roadside forest ( Fig. 56A View Fig ). They shared the locality with up to four unidentified species of Modisimus , one of them apparently in much the same microhabitat.


American Museum of Natural History


Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig














Tolteca hesperia ( Gertsch, 1982 )

Huber, Bernhard A., Meng, Guanliang, Valdez-Mondragón, Alejandro, Král, Jiří, Ávila Herrera, Ivalú M. & Carvalho, Leonardo S. 2023

Huber B. A. 2000: 118

Pholcophora hesperia

Gertsch W. J. 1982: 102
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