Messua limbata (Banks, 1898) - Jumping Spider
Making mistakes is part of the learning process for the naturalist interested in field identification. In hindsight some mistaken identifications seem reasonable while others are less justifiable blunders. When first seeing this spider* I knew I had not seen this species before and thought it might be a Zygoballus. Ultimately Wayne Maddison came to the rescue by suggesting Messua limbata. The genus Messua was first proposed by the Peckhams. In their account they likened it to Zygoballus but pointed out that the shapes of the thoracic slopes differ in the two genera. Seven years later the French arachnologist E. Simon was convinced the Peckhams had put too much emphasis on subtle differences and saw fit to include 'Messua' in the genus Zygoballus. The most recent revision of the taxonomy came a century after the Peckhams first proposed the new genus when Wayne Maddison's work on Pelegrina restored Messua as a valid genus.
*This mistaken identity refers to the female I saw in 2011; the male is nearly unmistakable and the ones seen here were found in 2013 and 2014.
Peckhams, 1896; Simon 1897-1903; Maddison, 1996