Alpaida imperatrix,

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: 323-326

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Alpaida imperatrix

new species

Alpaida imperatrix  new species

( Figs. 1–2View FIGURE 1View FIGURE 2, Map 1)

Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988: 438  , fig. 340–341 (only male paratype, misidentified)

Type-material. Holotype ♂. BRAZIL, Rio de Janeiro  : Macaé: Terminal Cabiúnas (Mata da Odebei), 28.IX.2012, looking down, G. Miranda coll. (MNRJ 7466). Paratypes: BRAZIL, Rio de Janeiro  : Macaé: Terminal Cabiúnas (Mata da Odebei), 15.III.2011, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀ (UFRJ 1418); 13.VIII.2013, looking down, G. Miranda coll., 1 ♀, 2 immatures (UFRJ 1417); 13.VIII.2013, litter sieving, G. Miranda coll., 1 ♀ (UFRJ 1419); 21.XI.2013, cryptic, D. R. Pedroso coll., 1 ♂, 1 immature (UFRJ 1420); idem Terminal Cabiúnas (Mata da Fazenda), 15.III.2011, looking down, R. Baptista coll., 1 ♀, 1 immature (MNRJ 7467); Rio de Janeiro  : Tijuca, Mário Eugenio coll., 1 ♂ (paratype A. tijuca  , MNRJ 58146, examined, misidentified); idem, Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca, Pau-da-Fome, 27.V.1995, R. Baptista & A. Kury coll., 1 ♂, 3 immatures (MNRJ 7441).

Additional material examined. None.

Etymology. The specific epithet “ imperatrix  ” is a Latin word meaning “empress”, used in apposition. It is a reference to the Leopoldina Railway, a railroad that connects the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Macaé  and is named after Maria Leopoldina of Austria (1797–1826), empress of Brazil, who married Pedro I (1798–1834), first Brazilian emperor, and gave birth to Pedro II (1825–1891), the last Brazilian emperor.

Diagnosis. A. imperatrix  new species shares with Alpaida itauba Levi, 1988  , Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988  and A. imperialis  new species a palp with a roundish terminal apophysis, bearing a long and visibly projected distal lobe, and a flattened, digitiform basal prong ( Fig. 3CView FIGURE3, Levi 1988, fig. 391, 347, sub A. caxias  , fig. 11C). Except A. tijuca  , they also share a small epigynum with short and rounded scape ( Fig. 4CView FIGURE 4, Levi 1988, fig. 386–387), and a pointed abdomen ( Fig. 4AView FIGURE 4, Levi 1988, fig. 388–389). A. imperatrix  new species is most similar to A. imperialis  new species, as both have an epigynum with median notch almost touching the lips and a very small scape (or median lobe) with its tip much lighter than the lips ( Fig. 2CView FIGURE 2, 4CView FIGURE 4). Their palps also bear a huge and flattened terminal apophysis, with an elongated distal lobe placed at its apical rim and a transverse and elongated basal prong ( Fig. 1CView FIGURE 1, 3CView FIGURE3). Both species have also a very similar colour pattern, but A. imperatrix  new species has an irregular brown patch on the middle of the sternum. The epigynum of A. imperatrix  new species has a larger, roundish notch, resembling an inverted water drop, and lips evenly curved and not excavated near the scape or projecting over the posterior plate ( Fig. 2C –DView FIGURE 2). The palp of A. imperatrix  is diagnosed by its terminal apophysis a little longer than wide, with a median tooth and a smaller and almost straight distal lobe ( Fig. 1DView FIGURE 1), a much shorter and less conspicuous tegular lobe, the downward slanted embolus and median apophysis shorter and wider ( Fig. 1CView FIGURE 1). As in A. itauba  ( Levi 1988, fig. 391), there is a median tooth on the terminal apophysis ( Fig. 1CView FIGURE 1).

Remarks. The male of A. imperatrix  new species was first described as paratype of Alpaida tijuca  by Levi, 1988 (Figs. 340–341). However, taking in account our new data, it is clear that Levi mismatched the couple of A. tijuca  , as the male paratype ( MNRJ 58146, examined) does not belong to the same species as the female holotype. The actual male of A. tijuca  is the male described as Alpaida caxias Levi, 1988  (fig. 346–347). Comments on pairing and synonymy are explained below, under Alpaida tijuca  in the Synonymic and Distribution Notes section.

Description. Male (holotype). Carapace yellow with median black patch tapering from eyes towards fovea, usually with a thinner light brown stripe from fovea towards the posterior rim of carapace, sternum light yellow with an irregular brown spot at the middle. Eyes placed inside anterior black patch ( Fig. 1AView FIGURE 1). Chelicerae with yellow paturon, covered with many irregular black spots, and reddish brown fangs, labium and endites black ( Figs.View FIGURE 1

1A –B). Legs pale beige with black patches on ventral and lateral sides of basal articles, darker on trochanter and proximal portion of femur on legs II to IV, and lighter on median and distal portions of femur in all legs ( Figs. 1A – BView FIGURE 1). Abdomen cylindrical, pale beige, with two black patches on sides of cardiac area, and one not continuous big black patch on median/posterior portions ( Fig. 1AView FIGURE 1). Venter pale beige only ringed in black, with just two stripes above spinnerets ( Fig. 1BView FIGURE 1). Lateral part of abdomen with one continuous black patch on ventral edge ( Fig. 1BView FIGURE 1). Palp with roundish terminal apophysis, slightly longer than wide, hollow, very sclerotized, bearing a median tooth and a smaller and almost straight undivided distal lobe ( Figs. 1C –DView FIGURE 1); embolus elongated, very slanted and bladeshaped ( Fig. 1CView FIGURE 1); median apophysis crescent-shaped, around twice longer than wide and projected inward; and tegular lobe small and slightly elevated ( Figs. 1C –DView FIGURE 1). Paracymbium short, hooked ( Figs. 1D –EView FIGURE 1). Total length: 3.52. Carapace: 1.75 long, 1.48 wide. Leg I: femur 1.74, patella 0.63, tibia 1.32, metatarsus 1.09 and tarsus 0.66. Patella + tibia II 1.43; III 1.33; IV 1.85.

Female (Paratype UFRJ 1417). Carapace and endites light yellow, bearing a wide median brown stripe from eyes to fovea, with abundant black pigment, blackish sides and a lighter median patch ( Fig. 2AView FIGURE 2). Carapace slightly tapering towards its anterior elevated part, but not as narrow as in male ( Fig. 2AView FIGURE 2). Eyes, sternum and legs as in male ( Fig. 2A –BView FIGURE 2). Chelicerae with brown paturon and reddish brown fangs ( Fig. 2BView FIGURE 2). Abdomen conical ( Fig. 2AView FIGURE 2), dorsum beige, with a pair of dark patches at each side of white cardiac area, a pair of black patches on middle third and a big black area on posterior third ( Fig. 2AView FIGURE 2). Lateral part of abdomen covered by a black stripe ( Fig. 2BView FIGURE 2). Venter beige, with a rectangular black patch just above spinnerets and a pair of black patches on opposite sides of epigynal area ( Fig. 2BView FIGURE 2). Spinnerets and anal tubercle light brown. Epigynum oval, much wider than long, with large and protruding rounded lips, a short and small rounded scape, much lighter than surrounding areas ( Fig. 2C – DView FIGURE 2), and a large and roundish notch, resembling an inverted water drop ( Fig. 2CView FIGURE 2). Posterior plate much wider than high and slightly laterally depressed, covered by lips only at its edges ( Fig. 2DView FIGURE 2). Total length: 4.58. Carapace: 2.00 long, 1.48 wide. Leg I: femur 1,53, patella 0.67, tibia 1.27, metatarsus 1.18 and tarsus 0.67. Patella + tibia II 1.63; III 1.26; IV 1.93.

Variation. Males (n = 4): total length, 3.52–4.04; females (n = 4): total length, 4.52–4.80. Male palps and its structures can slightly vary in size and proportion according to the body size.

Natural History. Alpaida imperatrix  new species was usually collected from small vertical orb-webs (around 10 cm wide) hanging between rotten logs and the ground. At night, the spiders remained in the hub, but they retreated to crevices at daytime. Most specimens were collected by “sieving” litter, searching “cryptic” habitats and using “looking down” sampling techniques.

Distribution. Only know from Macaé and Rio de Janeiro  cities, at Rio de Janeiro  state, Brazil (Map 1).


Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro


Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro














Alpaida imperatrix

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

Alpaida tijuca Levi, 1988 : 438

Levi, 1988 : 438