The Mediterranean Recluse Spider Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour, 1820): a new invasive for Socotra Island (Yemen)

Abstract

The presence of Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour, 1820), commonly known as the Mediterranean recluse spider, is recorded from Socotra Island (Yemen) for the first time. This originally circum-Mediterranean species is potentially harmful to humans, considering the strong cytotoxicity of the venom and the species often inhabiting human settlements. It has been shown that L. rufescens can easily be introduced to non-native areas with transported goods, and is hence an alien invasive species to nearly all other continents and many Islands. From the region, it was recorded from mainland Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. We conducted a wide survey and recorded the species across the entire Island of Socotra, in both natural and artificial habitats.

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Acknowledgements

Our special thanks are due to our Socotran friends, guides and drivers Ismael and Muhammad Amer. Last but not least we thank Petr Maděra (Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic) who helped us in reaching Socotra Island through the Project of Structural funds of EU “Management of natural resources in tropics and subtropics–innovation of study programmes at Faculty of Forestry and Wood technology, Mendel University in Brno” No.: CZ.1.07/2.2.00/07.0156 which initiated our research on the unique arthropod fauna of this region. Our visits to the Island were also financially supported by the grant of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic No.: LA10036/MSMT and partly by the Research plan of the Czech Ministry of Education MSM 6215648902.

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Correspondence to Vladimír Hula.

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This paper belongs to a Topical Collection “Twenty years of biodiversity research and nature conservation in the Socotra Archipelago” edited by Fabio Attorre and Kay Van Damme, conceived at the 18th Friends of Socotra Conference, 26–29 September, 2019, Orto Botanico di Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

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Hula, V., Niedobová, J. The Mediterranean Recluse Spider Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour, 1820): a new invasive for Socotra Island (Yemen). Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-020-00925-7

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Keywords

  • Socotra archipelago
  • Biological invasion
  • Araneae
  • Loxosceles rufescens