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What's in a name for 5 new African spider species?


Scientists certainly don't lack imagination when it comes to naming new species or genera. Rudy JocquĆ© (Biological collection and data management service) and et Arnaud Henrard (Invertebrates service) have described 5 new  African spider species belonging to the genus Palindroma, also new to science. A palindrome is a series of characters that reads the same forward or backward.


The researchers therefore named the five new species using palindromes: Palindroma aleykyela, P. morogorom, P. avonova, P. sinis, and P. obmoimiombo. They are larger than average (between 7 and 10 mm) and live in Central and Eastern Africa.


A new character

Yet more important than the description of a new genus – RMCA collections still have an incalculable number of unknown genera – is the fact that the two scientists have discovered that the spiders’ legs have a morphological character never observed before. This character makes it possible to recognize members of the ‘ant spider’ family (Zodariidae) from one leg alone. This could prove very useful in identifying fossil species, such as those preserved in amber.


Their article was published on 13 November 2015, in the European Journal of Taxonomy, a scientific, Open Access journal for descriptive taxonomy in zoology, entomology, botany, and palaeontology. The Royal Museum for Central Africa is one of the members of the consortium, along with 5 other European institutions.


New character observed in these spiders.
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