Researchers of Zoological Survey of India have discovered two new species of jumping spiders from southern India, a statement issued by the surveyor said on Monday. The two discoveries include ‘Phintelladhritiae’ from Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka and ‘Phintellaplatnicki’ from Salem district of Tamil Nadu.
‘Phintelladhritiae’ has been named in honour of Dr Dhriti Banerjee, the first woman director of the ZSI, the statement said. Banerjee had taken over as the director of the more-than-100-year-old institution in August 2021.
‘Phintellaplatnicki’ has also been named in honour of late Dr Norman Platnick for his contribution to the field of arachnology, it said. Arachnology is the scientific study of arachnids, which comprise spiders and related invertebrates such as scorpions and pseudoscorpions. The newly described species, which belong to the genus Phintella, are small-to-medium sized, colourful spiders, usually covered with metallic iridescent scales, the statement said.
The head is somewhat rounded or oval, relatively high with a distinct posterior slope, while the abdomen is ovoid or elongate, usually with pale and dark horizontal bands. Members of this genus generally inhabit under leaves and barks of shrubs and grasses, the ZSI statement said. Before the discovery of these new species of jumping spiders, 12 species of Phintella were known to be valid from India.
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The explorer team comprised Souvik Sen and Sudhin P P, from ZSI, Kolkata and John T D Caleb from Chennai. The discovery of these new species came up in the March 2023 issue of ‘Arthropoda Selecta’, a prestigious journal. Earlier this year, the team described another two new jumping spiders – ‘Stenaelurillusmegamalai’ and ‘Stenaelurillusneyyar’ – from the Western Ghats region.