An old but enigmatic friend: Anicius

My first trip to Mexico was 31 years ago, and it was a big one. Stuart Peck, Jarmilla Kukalova-Peck, Robert Anderson, and Michael Kaulbars and I drove from Ottawa to Chiapas (imagine that!). Along the way, over more than two months, we collected in many habitats, from searing deserts to tall rainforests. I found probably more than 200 species of salticids. It was mind-expanding to see such diversity. Afterward, I wasn’t much more fluent in Spanish than when I started, but I was considerably more fluent in Salticid.

Among my favourite jumping spiders found were little shiny green Anicius, living in my favourite habitat, the endangered cloud forests of the Sierra Madre Oriental. They are almost entirely unknown, with all of the 5 or more species I found being new to science. I have not collected Anicius since. Until last week.

I had not expected to see it on this trip, but last week we set out from Puerto Vallarta along the road to Mascota, and collected at about 1900 m elevation in the mountains. When the first Anicius dropped on my beating sheet I was suddenly transported back three decades. I hadn’t realized that there were cloud forest elements in these mountains. With fresh specimens, we should be able to learn more about this very little known group.

An Anicius female from near La Bufa


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