oa Annals of the Natal Museum - The spider family Toxopidae (Araneae)

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0304-0798



The family Toxopidae was established by Hickman in 1940 for a small spider Toxops montanus Hickman 1940, found on the summit of Mt Wellington, Tasmania. Hickman pointed out in this paper that the spider possessed characters found in several widely separated families but could not be placed satisfactorily in anyone of them. Up till now the family Toxopidae has remained based on this single species. In the present paper four further genera and twenty-six species are brought into the family and the majority of the family characteristics suggested by Hickman are confirmed. Three of the genera, Cycloctenus, Plectophanes and Laestrygones, have been known for many years but because of their anomalous characters have been placed in an extraordinary range of families. Cycloctenus L. Koch (1878) was originally placed by Koch in the Ctenidae, but subsequent authors have considered the genus better situated in the Lycosidae. Plectophanes Bryant (1935) was originally descriptionbed as a genus in the Sicariidae. Laestrygones Urquhart (1893) was placed by Urquhart in the Oxyopidae although he descriptionbed the same species subsequently (Urquhart, 1885) as a species of Lycosa. The presence of an unusual spined plate in front of the spinnerets of this species led Hogg (1909) to consider the spider cribellate and he descriptionbed it as a new species of Stiphidion Simon (1902), a genus belonging to the family Psechridae. The present author (Forster, 1955), revising Hogg's species, realised that the spider was not cribellate, and also that it should be placed in Laestrygones, but followed Bryant (1933) in placing the genus in the family Perissoblemmidae.

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