New spider species named in honor of Professor Jiaan Cheng, Mallinella chengjiaani

Plague presented to Prof JA Cheng (left) by Dr Robert Zeigler, Director General of International Rice Research Institute (center) and Prof Zhang Guoping, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Zhejiang University (right)

The Hainan project on arthropod biodiversity discovered 43 new species of spiders in rice ecosystems on the island. Many of the new species are being named after famous Chinese scientists and one of them has been named after Professor Jiaan Cheng in his honor.

Professor Cheng started his career in rice pest management in 1964 and in this nearly half century contributed significantly to the betterment of pest ecology and management in China.  

He was associate professor in Zhejiang University in 1978 and in 1991 became full professor the head of the Department of Plant Protection from 1988 to 1997.  He later became the vice president and president of Zhejiang Agricultural University.  

When the universities in Zhejiang were merged into Zhejiang University, Professor Cheng became vice president for research.

In his illustrious career, Professor Cheng published more than 200 papers as a researcher, as a teacher and as a mentor graduated and guided 45 graduate students who are now in key plant protection positions.

New species – Mallinella chengjiaani Barrion, Barrion-Dupo Heong

Description: Holotype female, total length 7.30 mm. Cephalothorax length 3.60 mm, width 2.40 mm, height 1 .70 mm. Abdomen length 4.25 mm, width 2.85 mm, height 2.10 mm.

Carapace: Reddish black with a median reddish brown band running from eye area to fovea, oblongate and 1 .Sx longer than wide. Cephalic area rounded anteriorly. Chelicerae reddish brown, 1 .7x longer than wide (1 .43:0.86 mm), broad base 2x wider than its apical width. Pedipalps concolorous with brownish legs and sternum, tarsus heavily spined retrolaterally and ventrally. Maxillae longer than wide, light reddish brown with yellow apical one-third converging. Labium triangular with yellow apex. Chilum triangular. Sternum as long as wide.

Eyes: In three rows, ALE in the first row of two eyes, PLE and AME in second row of four eyes and PME in the third with two eyes. Both AER and PES rows strongly procurved. PLE and AMEs almost in a straight line.

Eye diameter (mm): AME (0.2 1) > ALE (0. 1 8) > PME = PLE (0. 1 6). Eye separation (mm): PME-PLE (0.33) > AME-PLE (0. 1 4) > AME-ALE (0. 1 3) > PME-PME (0. 1 2) > AME-AME (0.08) > ALE-PLE (0.07). Median ocular quad wider in front than behind (0.47 mm vs 0.43 mm) and 1.1 9x longer than frontal width.Clypeus height nearly 3x AME diameter along ALE and 3.7x AME diameter at AME area.

Legs: Brownish red with dark reddish brown femora I-IV. Tibia I with 4 ventral spines, II with 3 retrolateral and 6 ventral spines, Ill with 3-6-4-3, and IV similar to Ill except for having 4 retrolateral spines. Femur Ill and metatarsus Ill subequal. Leg formula 4132.

Leg measurements (mm):

Leg

Femur

Patella

Tibia

Metatarsus

Tarsus

Total

1

2.10

1.00

1.85

1.65

1.40

8.00

2

1.80

0.90

1.45

1.55

1.35

7.05

3

2.00

1.00

1.40

2.00

1.30

7.70

4

2.50

l.15

1.9S

2.80

1.7S

10.1S

Pedipalp

1.00

0.50

0.60

-

0.90

3.00

Abdomen: Globose, black dorsally with white longitudinal and irregular venter with two white longitudinal bands. Spinnerets uniformly yellow and relatively short. Epigyne with transverse lip-like plate and a pair of subparallel spermathecae with inner coils.

Material Examined: CHINA, Hainan Island, Panja Town, Song tao Reservoir, holotype female (coli. no. SO 35), 3 April 201 1, AT Barrion, JLA Catindig, SC Villareal; paratype 1 female same data as holotype.

Diagnostic Features: Mallinella chengjiaani Barrion & Barrion-Dupo new species is similar toM. pane hoi (Barrion & Litsinger, 1 992) but differs from the latter in having (1) elongated and inner-coiled spermathecae, (2) femur Ill as long as metatarsus Ill, and (3) tibial spination.

Etymology: Patronym, in honor of Prof. Dr. Jiaan Cheng, in recognition of his outstanding legacy in improving the ecological management of rice insect pests in China, particularly the highly invasive rice planthoppers.

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