Thiruvananthapuram: Researchers at Kochi's Sacred Heart College have discovered a new little jumping spider belonging to the Salticidae family in the Western Ghats.
The new spider is remarkable for the presence of mating plugs, which are supposed function as the paternity protection devices.
The new species has been named Stenaelurillus albus, owing to the presence of a unique whitish area on the tegulum of the pedipalp - the copulatory organ of the male spider.
The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
"Mating plugs are not very unusual in the animal kingdom. However, it is interesting to note that they have been reported in only 17 species of the approximately 5800 jumping spiders described so far," said research supervisor P.A. Sebastian from the Scared Hearth College.
Mating plug was observed in the female copulatory opening of both the species described in this paper.
With the discovery of the new species, the genus Stenaelurillus is now represented by 28 species, majority of whom (21) come from Africa and the rest from Asia including India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Iran, China, Nepal and Tibet.
All are medium sized spiders, with their anterior region (prosoma) bearing two white transverse stripes on the dorsal side.
"Another notable feature of these spiders is the presence of strong bristles around the eye region in both males and females," Sebastian said.