Names of two common jumping spiders in Australia and New Zealand clarified

After realising that the type species of the genus Lycidas was in fact a peacock spider Otto & Hill transferred that species into the genus Maratus and by doing so they synonymised Lycidas and Maratus. All species that were previously in Lycidas were therefore absorbed by Maratus. The problem however was that some species in Lycidas really did not look much like Maratus at all and since that day it was debated what to do with them, in particular the species known as Maratus scutulatus, possibly the most common jumping spider in all of Australia, found in almost every garden.

A second problem that many who photographed jumping spiders can attest to was that of a species commonly found near houses in Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand is called the “house hopper”. However, there was some debate about what its scientific name should be. It had been referred to under several names, Hypoblemum villosum, and Hypoblemum albovittatum, but it was unclear which of these, if any, was correct.

In a paper published in Peckhamia 180.1 Jurgen Otto, David Hill and Robert Whyte clarified the names of both spiders. They removed the species scutulatus from the genus Maratus and assigned it to the genus Hypoblemum. They identified two other species names that had been used for that same spider, namely albovittatum and dialeuca and declared these synonyms of scutulatus. Finally, they discovered that calling the New Zealand “rock hopper” Hypoblemum albovittatum was a misidentification. Its alternative identification as Hypoblemum villosum had been correct but the same species had been described previously under a third name, griseum, and this name being the oldest name has priority. Hence we ended upwith the name Hypoblemum griseum for that species.

In summary, both of these common spiders are now in the genus Hypoblemum, and they are called Hypoblemum scutulatum and Hypoblemum griseum. Females and males of both species have interesting behaviour that is similar to that in peacock spiders and genetic work also indicates that these two species of Hypoblemum are closely related to peacock spiders in the genus Maratus.