Craspedisia cornuta (Keyserling, 1891)

Brescovit, Antonio D., Vasconcellos-Neto, João & Villanueva-Bonilla, German Antonio, 2020, Notes on the “ Pinocchio-cobweb-spider ” Craspedisia cornuta (Keyserling, 1891) from southeastern of Brazil (Theridiidae, Pholcommatinae), Zootaxa 4750 (2), pp. 211-224 : 212-221

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Craspedisia cornuta (Keyserling, 1891)


Craspedisia cornuta (Keyserling, 1891)

Figures 1–7 View FIGURE 1 View FIGURE 2 View FIGURE 3 View FIGURE 4 View FIGURE 5 View FIGURE 6 View FIGURE 7

Umfila cornuta Keyserling, 1891: 222 , pl. 8, fig. 163 (Male holotype from Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, deposited in The Natural History Museum, London, not examined; Gö1di, 1892: 5: 233.

Craspedisia cornuta: Simon, 1894: 580 , fig. 587; Levi & Levi, 1962: 60, figs 275−280; Levi, 1963: 177, figs 27−31.

Note. The type has not been examined, but the figures presented by Keyserling (1891, fig. 163) and Levi (1963, figs 27–31) allow the species to be identified with certainty. We also emphasize that so far is the only species of the genus that occurs in Brazil.

Material examined. BRAZIL. São Paulo: Assis, Estação Ecológica de Assis (22°34’S, 50°24’W), 1M, 25–30.XI.2002, Equipe Biota coll. ( MCN 41264 View Materials ) GoogleMaps ; Jundiaí, Reserva Biológica da Serra do Japi (23°13’53.1”S 46°56’08.6”W), 1F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215575 View Materials ) GoogleMaps ; 1F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215576 View Materials ) ; 1M 1F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215577 View Materials ) ; 1F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215578 View Materials ) ; 1F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215579 View Materials ) ; 2F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215580 View Materials ) ; 1F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215581 View Materials ) ; 1F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215582 View Materials ) ; 1M, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215583 View Materials ) ; 1M, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215584 View Materials ) ; 1F, V /2016 – I/2017 ( IBSP 215585 View Materials ) ; 2F, XI/2016 ( IBSP 215586 View Materials ) ; 1F, XI/2016 ( IBSP 215587 View Materials ) ; 1M, XI/2016 ( IBSP 215588 View Materials ) ; 1F, XI/2016 ( IBSP 215590 View Materials ) ; 1M, XI/2016 ( IBSP 215591 View Materials ) ; 1M 1F, XI/2016 ( IBSP 215592 View Materials ) ; 1F, XI/2016 ( IBSP 215596 View Materials ) ; 1F, XI/2016 ( IBSP 215597 View Materials ) , all collected by G. Villanueva; São Paulo (23°33’01”S– 46°38’02”W),1M, 1986, no coll. ( IBSP 27388 View Materials ); (Campus USP) GoogleMaps , 1M, 27/XI/2001, F.S. Cunha coll. ( IBSP 32134 View Materials ); (Campus Instituto Butantan) , 1M, 02/XII/2010, A.D. Brescovit coll. ( IBSP 210147 View Materials ) ; Paraná: Tijucas do Sul (25º55’41”S– 49º11’56”W), Lagoa, Morro do Cabral , 1M, VII/2000, J. Ricetti coll. ( IBSP 39029 View Materials ) GoogleMaps ; Guarapuava, Estância Santa Clara (25°40’S– 52°01’W), 1M 1F, 22.XI.1987, A. D. Brescovit coll. ( MCN 17125 View Materials ) GoogleMaps ; Jundiaí do Sul, Fazenda Monte Verde (23°26’S– 50°16’W), 1M 1F, 23.XI.1987, A.D. Brescovit coll. ( MCN 17184 View Materials ) GoogleMaps ; Rio Grande do Sul: Derrubadas, Parque Estadual do Turvo (27°8′44″S– 53°53′10″W), 27–31.X.2003, 1M 1F, R. Ott et al. coll. ( MCN 37781 View Materials ) GoogleMaps ; Santa Maria (29°41’02”S– 53°48’25”W), Campus Universidade Federal de Santa Maria , 1M 1F, 12. VI.2000, L. Indrusiak coll. ( MCN 37876 View Materials ) GoogleMaps ; Triunfo (29°56’34”S– 51°43’04”W), Parque Copesul de Proteção Ambiental , 1M 1F, 12.I.1989, A.B. Bonaldo coll. ( MCN 18084 View Materials ) GoogleMaps ;

Diagnosis. Craspedisia cornuta resemble C. spatulata from Dominican Republic, but can be distinguished by embolus rectangular and shorter and smallest conductor while in C. spatulata the embolar base is rounded; embolus longer and largest conductor (see Levi, 1963, fig. 33; Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 C−H). If compared with the Chinese Craspedisia longioembolia , the proboscis in this species is very short and the distal area of embolus long and filiform (see Yin et al., 2003, figs 2−3, 5). The females of both other species, C. spatulata and C. longioembolia are unknown.

Description. Male (IBSP 215592). Coloration of specimen still dead in alcohol: dorsally orange carapace with distal cephalic black area ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 A−B), ventrally with endites, labium and sternum greyish. Legs with yellowish coxae, trochanters and base of femurs, remaining dark gray ( Fig. 1D View FIGURE 1 ). Abdomen gray with four rounded dorsal black spots and ventrally gray ( Fig.1A View FIGURE 1 ). Carapace oval, covered with long hairs on prosomal pits and excavated base, thoracic groove deep and transversal, in the posterior third, posteriorly with large and stridulatory plate subrectangular, covering the pedicel, with more than 50 longitudinal grooves on the plate. Eyes in a projected cephalic area ( Fig. 1B View FIGURE 1 ), with median anterior eyes slightly larger than the others ( Figs 2 View FIGURE 2 A−B, G−H). Proboscis thick, fingerlike, curved down, covered with long bristles throughout, inserted in the median region of the clypeus, below the AME, of which it is separated by a diameter ( Figs. 2 View FIGURE 2 B−F). Clypeus projected on the chelicerae, with differentiated border and split in the median region ( Fig. 2D, F View FIGURE 2 ). Chelicerae with three teeth on anterior margin (one teeth in Levi, 1963) ( Fig. 3A View FIGURE 3 ). Endites truncated, with serrula presenting almost 30 small teeth in a row. Labium rounded, fused to sternum. Sternum tuberculate, covered with long hairs ( Fig. 3B View FIGURE 3 ). Slender legs, with three claws, anterior with six ventral teeth, median elongated, smooth and curved, and false claws represented by 3−5 hairs ( Fig. 3C View FIGURE 3 ); trichoboth- ria with rounded base, circular aperture and long hair ( Fig. 3D View FIGURE 3 ), distributed in two rows on the dorsal area of legs I–IV; tarsal organ rounded, smooth with circular aperture ( Fig. 3 View FIGURE 3 G−H) and chemosensitive setae as in female. Abdo- men with large ventral plate, which ends before the spinnerets, furrowed in the posterior third, where it houses two furrowed areas, where are the epiandric fusules ( Figs 3E View FIGURE 3 , legs; 3F, cymbium). Colulus small and triangular ( Fig. 3F View FIGURE 3 ). Male palp: short tibiae, enlarged distally with elongate setae, and a dorsal basal, rounded trichobothria ( Figs. 4 View FIGURE 4 A−B). Cymbium oval, with Theridiid cymbial hook elongated ( Fig. 4E, H View FIGURE 4 ). Subtegulum canoe-shaped, supporting the tegulum and distal structures ( Figs 4C, E View FIGURE 4 ) and presenting a globose retrolateral projection ( Fig. 4H View FIGURE 4 ). Tegulum large, projected posteriorly and conic at tip, with tegular apophysis conical, behind the embolus ( Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 E−F); median apophysis originating behind the embolus, distally flattened; pedunculate conductor, with distal area flattened, supporting the tip of embolus; embolus thick, longitudinally sulcated, with large and subquadrate base, having convex striations in the median area, ( Figs 4 View FIGURE 4 C−H).

Female. Coloration (from IBSP 215592) as in male, except distal area of tibia and metatarsus I–II darker and abdomen black, with small black spots; and epigynal plate orange as the anterior and lateral plates ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 D−F).. Carapace covered with less long hairs on prosomal pits and concentered in the cephalic area, stridulatory plate subrectangular, with less longitudinal grooves on the plate that the male ( Figs 5 View FIGURE 5 A−C). Clypeus and eyes ( Fig. 5C View FIGURE 5 ) as in male, proboscis absent ( Fig. 1D View FIGURE 1 ). Chelicerae short, with two teeth on anterior margin ( Fig. 5D View FIGURE 5 ). Endites, serrula and sternum as in male ( Figs 5 View FIGURE 5 E−G). Labium largest the male, fused to sternum ( Fig. 5E View FIGURE 5 ). Legs as in males, with three claws, anterior hairs and false claws of the legs I–II not impregnated with possible sap of plant material ( Fig. 6F View FIGURE 6 ) and posteriors legs III–IV with hairs and false claws covered by this material ( Fig. 6 View FIGURE 6 D−E). Trichobothria with rounded base, circular aperture and long hair ( Fig. 6A View FIGURE 6 ), distributed in the leg as in male ( Fig. 6 View FIGURE 6 A−B); tarsal organ capsuled, smooth with circular aperture ( Fig. 5H View FIGURE 5 ) and chemosensitive setae smooth and elongated ( Fig. 6C View FIGURE 6 ). Abdomen with ventral plate lesser than male, circular anteriorly and having laterally with a group of hard spines, probably to rub in the stridulatory plate ( Fig 7 View FIGURE 7 A−C). Colulus oval and elongated at tip ( Fig. 7D View FIGURE 7 ). Epigynum with ventral plate larger than long, subrectangular ( Fig. 7E View FIGURE 7 ) or semicircular ( Fig. 7F View FIGURE 7 ), with ample anterior opening. Internally with globose spermathecae, short copulatory ducts united at base, elongated fertilizations ducts and large inner area of the atrium ( Fig. 8 View FIGURE 8 A−B; see Levi, 1963, fig. 28).

Natural History. Craspedisia cornuta individuals are found in tree trunks of Piptadenhia gonoacantha (Mart.) JF Macbr. ( Fabaceae ), Croton floribundus Spreng. ( Euphorbiaceae ), and Zanthoxylum rhoifolium Lam. ( Rutaceae ) in ranges ranging from 0.5m– 1.7 m height (n = 55) in forest areas. Its distribution in the trunks is not random, occurring more frequently in places where there are shelter structures such as loose bark or protuberances and moss coverings along the trunk, which act as a rain protection roof ( Fig. 9A, F View FIGURE 9 ). The webs are star shaped with anterior aperture ( Fig. 9 View FIGURE 9 B−D). The web is slightly inclined from the base towards the shelter ( Fig. 2A View FIGURE 2 ). Craspedisia cornuta has nocturnal habits, remaining in this period in the trunk, outside the web. During the day, they are sheltered in the back part of the web ( Fig. 9E View FIGURE 9 ). The webs are usually found in lichen and moss-lined trunks ( Fig. 9 View FIGURE 9 ). Adult individuals were found mainly in the summer, in the months of December and January ( Fig. 10 View FIGURE 10 ), a period of higher rainfall where lichens and mosses are lush. According to Paquin & Dupérré (2001), the reproductive period of a spider species population is determined by the peak abundance of adult males. Thus we understand that the population of C. cornuta presents a spring and summer stenochronic phenological pattern with a very marked period of activity of adult spiders in a defined period of the year—according to the classifications of Tretzel (1954) and Paquin & Dupérré (2001). This phenological pattern where sexually active males are available for a few months has also been recorded in other spider populations in the temperate ( Merrett 1967) and Neotropical regions ( Villanueva-Bonilla & Vasconcellos-Neto 2016; Villanueva-Bonilla et al. 2018). In the case of autumn 2016, some remaining adult females from the previous summer were still found ( Fig. 10 View FIGURE 10 ), probably individuals who had less pressure for predators or fluctuating climatic conditions in the region.

One aspect that caught our eye when examining SEM images of the nails of the legs was the presence of a hardened substance covering the false claws and distal bristles to the legs. These characteristics were observed only in the legs III−IV of the females ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 D−E), being absent in the legs I−II ( Fig. 5F View FIGURE 5 ), as well as in the legs of the males where we did not observe these inlays ( Fig. 2C View FIGURE 2 ). We suspect that the substance could be sap of lichens or mosses, where females usually build their refuges and remain largely hidden.

Distribution. Known from the Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul states in Brazil ( Fig. 11 View FIGURE 11 ).


McNeese State University


Royal British Columbia Museum - Herbarium


University of the South Pacific


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


Mykotektet, National Veterinary Institute














Craspedisia cornuta (Keyserling, 1891)

Brescovit, Antonio D., Vasconcellos-Neto, João & Villanueva-Bonilla, German Antonio 2020

Craspedisia cornuta

Levi, H. W. 1963: 177