Crossopriza pristina ( Simon, 1890 )

Huber, Bernhard A., 2022, Revisions of Holocnemus and Crossopriza: the spotted-leg clade of Smeringopinae (Araneae, Pholcidae), European Journal of Taxonomy 795 (1), pp. 1-241 : 155-160

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Crossopriza pristina ( Simon, 1890 )


Crossopriza pristina ( Simon, 1890)

Figs 353A View Fig , 608–624 View Figs 608–615 View Figs 616–624

Artema pristina Simon, 1890: 93 .

Pholcus rivulatus (misidentification) – L. Koch 1875: 25 (only specimens from Massaua, see Remarks below).

Crossopriza pristina – Simon 1893: 475, fig. 465. — Timm 1976: 73, figs 5–6 (see Remarks below). — Pérez González 1996: 432. – Siyam et al. 2015: 265, figs 2–6.

Crossoprisa [sic] pristina – Wiehle 1933: 244, fig. 3a.


Crossopriza pristina – Franganillo 1925: 33 (see H. hispanicus ); 1926a: 49 (see C. lyoni ); 1926b: 11 (see C. lyoni ); 1926c: 70 (see H. hispanicus ); 1936a: 46 (see C. lyoni ); 1936b: 77 (see C. lyoni ). — Deeleman-Reinhold & van Harten 2001: 195, figs 1–4, 7–10 (see C. sanaa sp. nov. and C. manakhah sp. nov.).


L. Koch (1875) assigned two juvenile specimens from Massaua (Massawa) to “ Pholcus rivulatus ”, a name that was later synonymized with Holocnemus pluchei . Photos of these specimens (deposited in Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria, Genova, Italy) were kindly provided by M. Tavano (Jan. 2014) and the relatively short and posteriorly angular abdomen strongly suggests that this is C. pristina rather than H. pluchei .

Timm (1976) illustrated the male palp without providing any data about the origin of the specimens. It seems likely that he used the specimens that L. Fage loaned to H. Wiehle in the 1930s ( Wiehle 1933: 243, footnote) and that are now deposited in SMF. The labels with the SMF specimens do not specify the origin of the spiders. Considering the very large series of C. pristina from Massaua in MNHN, it seems likely that L. Fage took the specimens from that series rather than from the smaller type series from Aden. The SMF specimens below are thus thought to originate from Massaua.

The locality “Didi Davvs” (also published for Artema kochi in Aharon et al. 2014) is here thought to be a misspelling of Dire Dawa in Ethiopia. The collector, Barnum Brown, accompanied the so-called Dudley Expedition, which in 1920 conducted geologic surveys in Harrar Province between Harar and Jijigga. Brown was in Aden on June 16, 1920, and reached Addis Ababa on July 1, 1920 (Peter Purcell, pers. com., Dec. 2020). It is thus very plausible that he was in Dire Dawa on the days specified on the label (June 20–26).


Easily distinguished from known congeners by details of male palp ( Figs 617–618 View Figs 616–624 ; short and thick procursus with short ventral sclerite and distinctive retrolateral process; distinctive distal bulbal sclerite), male chelicerae ( Figs 621–622 View Figs 616–624 ; low sclerotized humps near median line), and female genitalia ( Figs 612 View Figs 608–615 , 623–624 View Figs 616–624 ; short but wide epigynum as in S. semicaudata but with large median internal structure and pore plates closer together).

Type material

Syntypes YEMEN • 1 ♂, 6 ♀♀, examined; Aden; 12.80° N, 45.03° E; 1889; E. Simon leg.; MNHN Ar 10511 (E. Simon collection number 10764) GoogleMaps .

Other material examined

ERITREA • 6 ♂♂, 21 ♀♀, 8 juvs; Massaua ; 15.61° N, 39.44° E; date and collector unknown; MNHN Ar 10510 (E. Simon collection number 11428) GoogleMaps 2 ♂♂, 1 ♀♀; without collection data, presumably same collection data as for preceding (i.e., taken from MNHN Ar 10510 and loaned by L. Fage to H. Wiehle); SMF 19429 View Materials /1, 19433/3 GoogleMaps 1 ♂, 1 ♀; Massaua; date unknown; L. Vincentini leg.; MRAC 131273 View Materials , 131274 View Materials .

ETHIOPIA • 1 ♂, 2 juvs; Dire Dawa (“Abyssinia: Didi Davvs”; see Remarks above); 9.60° N, 41.85° E; 1200 m a.s.l.; 20 and 26 Jun. 1920; B. Brown leg.; AMNH GoogleMaps .

SUDAN • 1 ♂, 1 ♀; Kassala State, New Halfa ; 15.317° N, 35.600° E (coordinates in Siyam et al. 2015 wrong); 26 Jun. 2013; M. Siyam leg.; ZMB GoogleMaps 1 ♂, 1 ♀ (abdomen), 1 juv. (prosoma) (in pure ethanol); same locality as for preceding; 10 Aug. 2014; M. Siyam leg.; ZFMK Siy 4, Siy 5 GoogleMaps .

Credible published records (not examined)

SUDAN • 1 ♂, 1 ♀; Kassala, New Halfa; 26 Jun. 2013; M. Siyam leg.; Siyam et al. 2015; ZMB 48672 View Materials • 1 ♂, 1 ♀; same locality as for preceding; 10 Aug. 2014; M. Siyam leg.; Siyam et al. 2015; ZMB 48674 View Materials • 1 ♀; Red Sea State, Tokar (Towkar); 18.452° N, 37.727° E (coordinates in Siyam et al. 2015 wrong); 9 Oct. 2011; Siyam et al. 2015; ZMB 48671 View Materials .


Male (Massaua, MNHN Ar 10510)

MEASUREMENTS. Total length 4.5, carapace width 1.6. Distance PME–PME 90 µm; diameter PME 120 × 140 µm; distance PME–ALE 35 µm; diameter AME 105 µm; distance AME–AME 40 µm. Leg 1: 49.1 (13.5 + 0.7 + 12.7 + 19.3 + 2.9), tibia 2: 8.5, tibia 3: 6.1, tibia 4: 6.9; tibia 1 L/d: 67; femora 1–4 diameters: 0.28, 0.23, 0.23, 0.23.

COLOR (in ethanol). Bleached specimen mostly pale ochre-yellow; carapace pit anteriorly light brown; sternum posteriorly slightly darkened, with radial marks; legs ochre-yellow, without darker rings, black lines on femora and tibiae barely visible; abdomen ochre-gray, with few indistinct dark marks dorsally; ventrally with distinct black median band, partly disrupted, with three parallel longitudinal marks behind gonopore.

BODY. Habitus very similar to C. sahtan sp. nov. (cf. Fig. 391 View Figs 391–398 ). Ocular area slightly raised. Deep thoracic pit and pair of furrows diverging from pit toward posterior margin. Clypeus unmodified, only rim more sclerotized than in female. Sternum wider than long (1.15/0.75), unmodified. Abdomen slightly elongated, dorso-posteriorly angular.

CHELICERAE. As in Figs 621–622 View Figs 616–624 , proximally with low sclerotized humps near median line, distally with pair of frontal apophyses provided with one large modified cone-shaped hair each; distance between tips of modified hairs: 50 µm; lateral stridulatory ridges fine but visible in dissecting microscope.

PALPS. As in Figs 608–610 View Figs 608–615 ; coxa barely modified, with low retrolateral hump; trochanter barely modified; femur short, distally strongly widened, with rounded ventral protrusion, proximally with prolateral stridulatory pick, retrolateral-ventral rim with row of sclerotized hair-bases, with indistinct retrolateral transversal line, without retrolateral proximal process; femur-patella joints very close together, not shifted toward prolateral side; tibia very large relative to femur, tibia-tarsus joints slightly shifted toward retrolateral side; tarsus without macrotrichia; procursus ( Figs 616–617 View Figs 616–624 ) short and straight, proximally on prolateral side with strong hump set with numerous long hairs, dorsal hairs not curved, procursus tip with short ventral sclerite and distinctive dorsal and retrolateral processes; genital bulb ( Figs 618–620 View Figs 616–624 ) with simple basal sclerite connected to distal (main) sclerite, sperm duct opening on prolateral-dorsal side at basis of distal sclerite (arrow in Fig. 619 View Figs 616–624 ); distal sclerite with distinctive ventral process and prolateral ridge.

LEGS. Femur 1 with single row of ~30 ventral spines; without curved hairs; few vertical hairs; retrolateral trichobothrium of tibia 1 at 4%; prolateral trichobothrium absent on tibia 1, present on other leg tibiae; tarsal pseudosegments not seen.

Male (variation)

Tibia 1 in 11 males: 11.6–13.6 (mean 12.7). Specimens from Sudan (collected between 2013 and 2015) with distinct pattern of dark and whitish marks on abdomen (similar C. sahtan sp. nov., cf. Fig. 391 View Figs 391–398 ), with distinct black lines on femora and tibiae, and with dark brown sternum. All other specimens are much older (100 years and more) and probably artificially pale.


In general similar to male but without spines on legs, apparently without stridulatory files on chelicerae, and with stridulatory organ consisting of pair of weakly sclerotized but distinct processes posteriorly on carapace and pair of indistinct light brown or non-darkened plates anteriorly on abdomen. Tibia 1 in 26 females: 10.0–13.6 (mean 11.9). Epigynum as in Figs 611–612 View Figs 608–615 , main epigynal plate short but wide, weakly protruding; with pair of shallow pockets very close to median line on both sides of median ridge (distance between pockets 40 µm); internal sclerotized arc and median round structure visible in uncleared specimens; posterior plate indistinct, short but wide. Internal genitalia ( Figs 613–615 View Figs 608–615 , 623– 624 View Figs 616–624 ) with large oval pore plates in transversal position and close together, dorsal arc strongly sclerotized laterally, ventral arc with median pouch or pocket of unknown function.

Natural history

At the type locality (Aden), Simon (1890) collected this species in houses, together with “ Artema mauricia ” (= A. atlanta Walckenaer, 1837 ).


Known from NW Africa ( Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia) and the Arabian Peninsula ( Yemen) ( Fig. 353A View Fig ).


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Forschungsinstitut und Natur-Museum Senckenberg


American Museum of Natural History


Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Zoological Collections)


Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig














Crossopriza pristina ( Simon, 1890 )

Huber, Bernhard A. 2022

Crossoprisa [sic] pristina

Wiehle H. 1933: 244

Crossopriza pristina

Siyam M. & Dunlop J. A. & El-Hennawy H. K. 2015: 265
Perez Gonzalez A. 1996: 432
Timm H. 1976: 73
Simon E. 1893: 475

Artema pristina

Simon E. 1890: 93

Pholcus rivulatus

Koch L. 1875: 25