|In 2004 I received in loan this magnificent piece of Dominican amber from Jörg Wunderlich. The spider inside is the first representative known of the genus Leptopholcus in amber, dating back about 23 million years. I tried to find more specimens in amber during a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, but without success. What I did find were several new species of extant Leptopholcus species, and these are described, together with the fossil species, in this paper.|
Another highlight of
the trip to the Dominican Republic was the discovery of the first case
of egg parasitism in Pholcidae. Females in Pholcidae carry their
egg-sacs in their chelicerae until the spiderlings hatch and it is
probably for this reason that the eggs are not densely covered by a
protective layer of silk as in most other spiders.
Left: unparasitized and parasitized eggsacs of Leptopholcus baoruco
Below: Baeus sp. female from one of the parasitized pholcid eggs. Scale bars: 0.2 mm.