Systematic and Biological Account of the New Zealand Mygalomorphae (Arachnida).
[Read before the Otago Branch, July 11, 1944; received by the Editor, November 18. 1944; issued separately, March, 1945.]
The Mygalomorphae is a sub-order of the order Araneae. This sub-order is synonymous with Eugene Simon's (1892) family Aviculariidae. It is a group which possesses affinities with the segmented Liphistiomorphae as well as with the more advanced Araneomorphae. An attempt has been made to survey the Mygalid spiders in this Dominion. The families Ctenizidae, Dipluridae and Migidae are represented in New Zealand, and members of these three families have been available for study. A survey has been made of all the New Zealand species including those which have been previoxisly described. These latter have been redescribed from actual specimens identified as belonging to the same species and from the same locality. Each species has been dealt with under the headings of taxonomy, biology and distribution. The range in distribution given is likely to be extended with a little more investigation of those parts of the country not visited.
The earliest descriptions of New Zealand Mygalomorph spiders were those of Koch (1873–4), Cambridge (1873, 1877, 1879), and Simon (1892). These descriptions were usually based on an examination of one or two spiders and the holotypes are unfortunately not to be found in New Zealand. Often no mention has been made as to the depositing of holotypes at all, and for convenience neotypes of most of the predescribed species have been placed in the Otago Museum.
New Zealanders who have dealt with the systematics of this group are Goyen (1886, 1890, 1891), and Urquhart (1893). Hogg (1901), in a survey of Australasian Mygalomorphs deals with the New Zealand members of the group. He recognises five genera, one a new one. Hutton (1904, pp. 236–7) lists six genera, which consist of Hogg's five and one (Cteniza) which had been previously proved a synonym. The latest account is that of de Dalmas (1917), who doubts the validity of Hogg's new genus, but otherwise his list is similar to the latter's. Several new species have been described in this paper, including two which probably also constitute new genera.
Apart from Gillies' work on the habits of Arbanitis gilliesii (1875, pp. 222–262), and that of Gatenby (1911, pp. 234–240) on Migas distinctus very little biological study has been done on the group in New Zealand.
Since several genera are to be considered, it may be helpful to give some short account here of the salient features of each genus; features by which they may be readily recognised. Spiders belonging
to the genus Arbanitis all live in burrows in the ground. They are large, brownish spiders, comparatively slow in movement. The burrow is typically closed with a trap-door except in Arbanitis huttoni, which has an open burrow. Cantuaria is very like Arbanitis in appearance and has a trap-door to the burrow. Migas species are usually small spiders which have a stunted appearance when compared with the other genera. A. trap-door is always present covering the burrow. Porrhothele and Hexathele are large spiders which live in striking tubular webs under stones on the ground or under the loose bark of trees. They are swiftly moving spiders with characteristically long superior spinnerets, and often they have a brightly coloured (red or orange) prosoma. Hexathele may be distinguished from Porrhothele by the possession of two additional spinnerets, making a total of six.
I have to thank the following people for giving, sending or lending me material:—
Professor B. J. and Mrs. Marples for N.Z. Mygalids they had collected, and for allowing me to examine some European Nemesia specimens and a Heptathela (Liphistiomorphae); Mr. Sorensen (Invercargill), Mr. Sanderson (N. Auckland), Murray Smith (Dunedin), Alan Meikle (Oamaru), Mr. MacFarlane (Christchurch) and others, all of whom sent me many spiders.
Also thanks to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Dominion Museum (Wellington), Canterbury Museum (Christ-church), and the Wanganui Museum for letting me examine or for sending me Mygalomorph spiders in their possession.
In dealing with the Systematics of the group something must be said of the methods used in determining the characters which are regarded as having specific value. In the past the arrangement of the eyes has been largely used in classification depending on the direction of the curve of the anterior and posterior rows of eyes. Much discrepancy is noticed in different authors' descriptions. The reason for this divergence of opinion is made obvious if a semicircular object is considered. When this is looked on from various directions and at differing distances the curve appears to change in degree of convexity. Likewise with the rows of eyes in spiders, for unless they are looked at in a constant position and from the same direction their curve will appear to vary. So, to make this a worth-while specific character, the method employed here was to examine the spider always with the anterior end towards and directly below the observer, giving a fairly constant angle of observation. To obtain as flat a plane as possible and prevent tilting, the abdomen and all the legs were removed. It is to be noted that eye arrangement is not always a dependable specific character as the spaces between eyes may vary with age (de Dalmas, 1917).
In all cases mature spiders were examined and description (except in the case of one or two males and one female) is based on no less than three members of the species and in most cases on many more than this. Where males were available, the structure of the palpal organs and tibiae of the first leg were good specific characters. The spines and tarsal claws form the other main structures used in systematic consideration.
Explanation of Some Terms Used.
There are several terms which are constantly used in Systematic descriptions with widely varying meanings according to different authors. The following is a dictionary of the terms used here, listed with their appropriate meanings:—
Cheliccial Groove.—Groove on the basal segment of the chelicera in which the fang fits in the resting condition.
Clypeus.—That part of the cephalothorax lying between the front row of eyes and the base of the chelicerae.
Fovea.—Indented line in the middle of the cephalothorax.
Procurved.—Applied to a curved row with the concavity in front.
Rastellum.—Group of stout teeth at the extremity of the basal joint of the chelicera.
Recurved.—Curved row with concavity behind.
Scopula.—Area covered with fine hair. May be cheliceral, maxillary or on the tarsus or metatarsus of the legs.
Seta (or Bristle).—Stouter than a hair but less stout than a spine and usually not articulated at the base.
Sigillae.—Small round areas occurring in pairs on the opposite edges of the sternum.
Spine.—Stout basally articulated structure.
Venter.—Ventral surface of the abdomen.
Spiderling.—Newly hatched spider in the cocoon, differing from subsequent instars.
The following abbreviations have been used throughout:—
With Regard to Eye Arrangement—
f.m.e.—fore median eyes.
f.l.e.—fore lateral eyes.
h.m.e.—hind median eyes.
h.l.e.—hind lateral eyes.
Key to the New Zealand Sub-Families of the Sub-Order Mygalomorphae.
|2.||Two sternal sigillae||Miginae|
|Six sternal sigillac||3|
|4.||Web-weavers. Posterior spinnerets very long||Macrothelinae|
|Burrowers. Posterior spinnerets seldom longer than half the length of the abdomen||Diplurinae|
Chelicerae with rastellum. Maxillary lobes wanting. Three claws. Upper claws similar, pectinate in a single or double row. Four, rarely six, comparatively short spinnerets; anterior pair more or less approximated. Thoracic groove variable. Eight eyes. (Petrunkevitch, 1928).
Lip free. Thoracic groove transverse. Sternum two-six sigillae. Four spinnerets. Upper claws pectinate in either a single or a double row.
Genus Arbanitis Koch, 1874.
The genus was established by Koch (1874) as Pholeuon and later changed by him to Arbanitis (p. 491). The type species for the genus A. longipes is not found in New Zealand.
The genus is characterised by the possession of six sigillae on the sternum; the upper claws are pectinate in a single row, and there is a scopula of fine hair on the inferior surface of the metatarsus and tarsus of the palps and the first and second pairs of legs. The spider always digs a burrow.
Arbanitis gilliesii (Cambridge, 1877).
Nemesia gilliesii Cambridge, 1877. T.N.Z.I., x, p. 281.
Arbanitis gilliesii Simon, E., 1892. “Histoire Naturelle des Araignées,” p. 115. Hogg, H. R., 1901. P.Z.S., p. 233. de Dalmas, 1917. Ann. Soc. Ent. Fr.
The correct specific form of “Gillies” should be “gilliesi”. However, since it was originally published as “gilliesii” this must be retained (Article 19, Rules of Zoological Nomenclature). Although Cambridge omits to mention this, the holotype for this species is probably in the British Museum. Nevertheless it has been thought necessary to establish a neotype which is deposited in the Otago Museum. Cambridge described both the female and male thoroughly (loc. cit.), and the following summary of the main characters differs in no way from his account.
Cephalothorax: Lightish brown, hairy, procurved fovea.
Abdomen: Fawn, with dark brown speckled pattern.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Eight large teeth on inside of cheliceral groove and four small teeth on outside. A thick scopula of orange hair on outside of the outer row of teeth.
Palp: One terminal claw. Tarsus with scopula of fine hair.
Maxilla: Scopula of orange hair anteriorly. Anterior angle of the inferior surface studded with spines (Pl. 55, Fig. 1).
Labium: No spines. Some setae (Pl. 55, Fig. 1).
Sternum: Six orange sigillae.
Venter: Fairly distinctive pattern in dark brown.
Spinnerets: (1) Unsegmented. (2) Three segments.
Eyes: F.r. strongly procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. their diameter apart, x 1½ diameter from f.l.e. H.l.e. x 2 diameter from f.l.e. H.m.e. of pearly lustre x 1 diameter from h.l.e. and x 2 diameter from f.m.e. (PI. 56, Fig. 25).
Tarsal Claws of First Leg of Right Side: Superior claws with two pectinations. Inferior claw without pectination. (Pl. 57, Fig. 39).
Dimensions: The average length of the spider from the front edge of the cephalothorax is 19.0 mm., and the width of the cephalothorax is 7.5 mm.
Cephalothorax: Very broad, light brown, hairy. A few setae in line from the fovea to the ocular area and on the clypeus. Fovea straight with radiating lines well marked.
Abdomen: Creamish colour with dark speckled pattern. Covered with long dark setae.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Very dark brown with reddish-brown fang. Four large and four smaller teeth on inside of cheliceral groove and eight small ones on inferior outside half. Slight scopula on inside and thicker orangish one on outside of furrow.
Palp: Tibia and tarsus modified as copulatory organ. Bulb long and pointed. Alveolus edge covered with a mass of short spines in basal part. Short spines on proximal tarsal joint. (Pl. 58, Fig. 54).
Tibia of First Leg: U-shaped modification (Pl. 58, Fig. 64).
Maxilla: Anterior angle of the inferior surface covered with spines. Scopula of orange hair (PL 55, Fig. 5).
Labium: No spines. Stout setae on anterior angles.
Sternum: Rectangular. Six sigillae (Pl. 55, Fig. 5).
Venter: Pattern in dark brown. Genital operculum creamish.
Eyes: f.r. strongly procurved. h.r. strongly recurved. f.m.e their diameter apart x 1½ diameter from f.l.e. H.l.e. x 2 diameter from f.l.e. H.m.e. (not pearly) about x ½ diameter from h.l.e. and x 1 diameter from f.m.e.
Dimensions: cl. = 6.0 mm. cb. = 7.0 mm. al. = 6.0 mm. ab. 4.0 mm. Leg-lengths: i = 24.0 mm. ii = 22.0 mm. iii = 20.0 mm. iv = 25.0 mm.
Arbanitis gilliesii is the largest of the true trap-door spiders in New Zealand. The nests of this spider have been fully described by Gillies (1875), and some of his original nest material is in the Otago Museum. The depth of the burrow varies from 8–14 inches, the width is from ½—1 inch, and the trap-door is of the wafer type. Nests which were collected from Palmerston South in April, 1941, were in an open field leading back to other nests under pine trees.
Arbanitis is characterised by a restellum on the chelicera, and this is used in digging the burrow. The palps and first two pairs of legs also help to scrape the earth away. Arbanitis excavates the whole burrow before any lining with silk commences. The door is constructed right across the opening and it is after this that the lining begins. One concludes this by observing the movements that go on under the closed door of the burrow. The spider then bites round two-thirds of the door leaving the remaining third to act as a hinge. This kind of hinge does not allow the door to be opened right back, and if opened it will close itself. The stance of all Mygalid spiders in the burrow is with the first two pairs of legs directed forwards and the last two pairs directed backwards.
The spider does not spin any web to catch its prey, but depends on its deftness of movement to obtain food. The movement of an insect or other small arthropod across the trapdoor is sufficient to stimulate the spider into opening the door and springing upon the disturber, which it then drags inside to consume. The spider seldom leaves the nest to capture prey, but has been seen on occasion to pursue an insect which had escaped from the first pounce. As it rushes at the victim the fangs are held erect, and these pierce the prey, injecting poison from the poison gland. The spider usually holds the prey thus with the aid of the palps. Only liquid food is absorbed, and presumably the next stage is the secretion of diges-
tive juices on to the victim. The maxillary glands opening on the maxillae and the rostral gland are probably active here. During this time the spider is holding the prey and a rhythmic pressing between the jaws and palp is in progress. Whether this indicates that food is being sucked up the pharynx or whether it aids the secretion is not clear. Probably the food is taken up as soon as it is in a liquid state. Usually the prey is chewed up in the jaws, but sometimes a complete empty shell of the victim is left.
This process of external digestion or partial digestion takes quite a long time. A young Arbanitis given a slater outside the burrow took four hours from the time of piercing it with the fangs to the time of discarding it as a dry, crushed mass. The spiders will not touch dead animals, and movement or some sort of vibration seems to be essential to begin the actions which fulfil the food procuring instinct.
After a meal the debris is sometimes brought up and left outside the burrow or flicked from it with the palps, but usually it is to be found at the base of the burrow. Often there is a whole branch full of debris coming off from near the base and sealed off with silk from the main passage of the burrow. One of these branchfuls was examined and found to contain the remains of four different kinds of beetles, carabid beetles, a weevil, a large number of Odontria striata, a large beetle, and another smaller one. Also among the debris was a caterpillar, a small fly, and the chelicera of a spider of the same species.
The male spider is as large as a mature female, but not so large as the largest of these. Evidence obtained from German owl stomach contents (see later) shows that males are commonest from the months of April to June. Some young spiders were collected in April also.
Arbanitis gilliesii specimens were collected from Palmerston and others were sent from Oamaru and Kakanui. The strictly local distribution of any Mygalomorph is very marked.
Mygalid spiders found among the stomach contents of German owls by Marples (1942, p. 242) gave some valuable distributional facts as well as some insight into the life of the male spiders. All the spiders found in this way were of the male sex. The owls feed at night, and sometimes there were as many as 30 spiders in one owl. It certainly looks as though males are not so scarce as we have been led to believe they are. They leave their burrows at night; the very fact that no female has ever been found in these owls strongly suggests that she does not leave her nest.
Distributional information from this source extended the known range of Arbanitis gilliesii into Central Otago.
Arbanitis huttoni Cambridge, 1879.
Arbanitis huttoni Cambridge, O. P., 1879; P.Z.S., p. 682.
Arbanitis huttoni Goyen P., 1891; T.N.Z.I. xxiv, p. 255.
Arbanitis huttoni Hogg, H. R., 1901; P.Z.S. p. 236. de Dalmas, 1917; Ann. Ent. Soc. Fr.
Cambridge described the male Arbanitis huttoni (loc. cit.) and some 12 years later Goyen described the female and its burrow. In
both cases any mention of a type specimen is omitted, so a neotype has been deposited in the Otago Museum.
Arbanitis huttoni differs from A. gilliesii in
Larger number of spines on the maxilla.
f.r. eyes are not so strongly procurved.
More pectination on the tarsal claws.
Bulb of the male palpal organ is much blunter.
Habit. A. huttoni has no trap-door to the burrow.
Cephalothorax: Brown, fovea straight.
Abdomen: Light brown with pattern in dark brown.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Six large teeth on inside of groove. Seven to eight small teeth on inferior half of outside of groove. Scopula of brownish hair on the outside.
Palp: One claw. Scopula on inferior-surface of tarsus which bears four to five spines.
Maxilla: Half inferior surface covered with spines. Scopula of orange hair anteriorly. (Pl. 55, Fig. 2).
Labium: No spine. Setae.
Sternum: Covered with setae. Six sigillae (Pl. 55, Fig. 2).
Venter: Very characteristic marking.
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. slightly recurved. f.m.e. hardly their diameter apart. x 1 diameter from f.l.e. which are largest. h.l.e. x f diameter f.l.e. and this distance away from f.l.e. H.m.e. of pearly lustre x ½ diameter h.l.e. and this distance away from h.l.e. (Pl. 56, Fig. 26).
Tarsal claw: Superior claws four to five pectinations (Pl. 57, Fig. 40).
Dimensions: cl. = 6.0 mm.; cb. = 5.0 mm.; al. = 9.0 mm.; ab. = 5.5 mm.
Cephalothorax: Varying from pale to deep chocolate brown. Fovea recurved. Short hairs found especially in the furrows which radiate from the fovea.
Abdomen: Fawnish or cream patterned in dark brown.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Six large teeth on inside of groove. Three to four smaller ones on outside. Scopula of brown hair on outside of this again.
Palp: Bulb with short, blunt point. Alveolus bespined at base of bay, then a gap with no spines. On top of the bay a few longish spines. Tarsal and tibial joint with spines on dorsal surface (PI. 58, Fig. 55).
Maxilla: No spines. Scopula of orange hair anteriorly (Pl. 55, Fig. 6).
Labium: No spines.
Sternum: Fairly rectangular in shape. Six sigillae (Pl. 55, Fig. 6).
Venter: Definite pattern like the female.
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. recurved, f.m.e. their diameter apart and x 1 diameter from f.l.e. These are the largest eyes and are x ¾ diameter from h.l.e. H.m.e. of pearly lustre x ½ diameter of f.l.e. and adjoining these.
Dimensions: cb. 4.5 mm.; cl. 3.5 mm.; al. 5.0 mm.; ab. 3.0 mm.
Arbanitis huttoni sub-sp. stewarti nov.
This spider differs constantly from A. huttoni in the following points:—
General darker colouring, the cephalothorax is black-brown.
Scopula on tarsus of first and second legs is not well marked and still less obvious on the metatarsus of these legs.
Smaller number of teeth in the outer row of the cheliceral furrow. Five to six little ones. (c.f. A. huttoni has eight small ones).
The thoracic fovea is very slightly recurved.
The fore-median eyes are less than their diameter apart.
Apart from darker colouring this agrees with Arbanitis huttoni male.
The habit of the spider is similar to A. huttoni for it has a silk lined burrow without a trap-door. However, these constant variations seem to necessitate the formation of a sub-species Arbanitis huttoni stewarti.
The following is the description of an isolated male cephalothorax found at Rakiahua, Stewart Island.
Cephalothorax: Orangish brown. Fovea damaged.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Six large teeth on inside. Five small ones on inferior half of outside of furrow. Scopula of orangish hair on outside of this.
Palp: Bulb with a long, thick, blunt point. Alveolus studded with short spines at the base. Four long spines at the top of bay. Tarsus and dorsal tipper surface of tibia covered in large spines.
Maxilla: Few very short spines on anterior angle of inferior surface. Orange scopula anteriorly.
Labium: No spines. Some long setae.
Sternum: Six sigillae.
Eyes: f.r. very strongly procurved. h.r. recurved, f.m.e. hardly their diameter apart x 1 diameter from f.l.e. These are largest and are about x ¾ diameter from h.l.e. H.m.e. smaller (x ½ diameter h.l.e.) of a pearly lustre x 1 diameter from f.m.e.
Dimensions: cl. = 7.0 mm.; cb. = 5.5 mm. [cf. A. huttoni—cl. = 4.5 mm.; cb. = 3.5 mm.] Leg lengths, i, = 26.0 mm.; ii, = 24.0 mm.; iii, = 20.0 mm.; iv, = 28.5 mm. [cf. A. huttoni—17.0 mm.; 16.0 mm.; 12–0 mm.; 17.5 mm.]
This specimen possesses the characteristic features of Arbanitis but differs from A. huttoni in the following features:—
Greater size and different colouring.
Bulb of palpal organ is blunter though more tapering.
Spines on maxilla.
Legs are better provided with setae and spines.
It differs from A. gilliesii—
Bulb of palpal organ not tapering to a point.
Presence of spines on tibia of palp.
Fewer teeth in cheliceral furrow.
Is this the male of another Arbanitis species, or is it the usual Stewart Island sub-species of A. huttoni grown to this size due to some growth upset? It is better to regard the latter as the more probable explanation as ordinary mature females were found further up the river. The increase of setae on the legs and the presence of spines on the maxillae may be consequent on the size increase.
Biology of A. huttoni.
Although the Mygalomorphs are commonly referred to as the “Trap-door” spiders not all of them construct a trap-door and some do not even burrow in the ground. Arbanitis huttoni has a burrow, but this is not covered with a trap-door. The nest is usually but not invariably branched. The main opening is quite conspicuous, with the silk lining protruding round the mouth, while the side branch is narrower and its external opening is generally more or less concealed by loose earth, or sometimes a flap of silk, the latter suggesting a trap-door. Burrows are found on banks near bush or on the bush floor. They tend to be most numerous where the soil is well held by roots, or if it is very wet and leafy they may be under logs. In digging out A. huttoni the spider was often found in the side branch, suggesting that this was used for escape purposes.
The average depth of the burrow is from 4–6 inches, with a diameter from 6–10 mm. The side branch may come off anywhere above the first three or four inches. To determine any relationship that may exist between the size of the spider and the diameter of the burrow, 46 spiders were taken from measured burrows and their cephalothoracic widths noted. For every 0.5 mm. increase in burrow width an average of the cephalothorax widths was taken. This showed that spiders up to 4.0 mm. in diameter lived in burrows of regularly varying diameter. The spider seldom exceeds 4.0 mm. in diameter and spiders of this width are found, on an average, in holes ranging in diameter between 9.0–14.0 mm. The largest cephalothorax measured was 5.0 mm. across, and this spider was from a 15.0 mm. hole.
The method of excavation of the burrow is the same as that of Arbanitis gilliesii but no trap-door is constructed. Male spiders seem much rarer than the females and many authors have thought that they may have a different type of nest from the female, or have no nest at all. Arbanitis huttoni males, however, have been found in nests similar to the females. That these truly belong to the male and are not just disused female nests is certain, since males kept in jars have built their own nests. The male spiders do not die after
the mating season. Unless circumstances force the female to leave her nest it is unlikely that she ever does so. A small area was kept under observation for eight months, and apart from small new nests coming into it little change in position of the burrows was noticed. Frequent relining of the nest with silk is essential to keep it firm and open. Presumably the spider enlarges the nest at intervals to keep pace with her own growth in size.
Food debris is often found at the sides of the burrow near the bottom, worked into the lining and covered over with silk. The spiders are most active in the spring and summer when there is an abundance of food available. In winter they seem to undergo a kind of hibernation. Spiders dug out of their burrows at this time were always in a somnolent condition at the bottom of the burrow, and they offered no resistance when picked up. In spring or summer, on the other hand, they will rear up in a defensive attitude when touched (although often they remain immobile for a while). Sealed up nests are not uncommonly found during the winter period. In A. huttoni the silk lining round the mouth of the burrow is brought together from two sides, giving the appearance of a trap-door. The significance of this sealing up is not understood (Gillies, 1875), but it would certainly have a protective function and also help to maintain an even temperature.
The male A. huttoni is usually smaller than the female, with a smaller abdomen and longer legs. Males have been collected between the months of December and June inclusive. This time coincides with that in which eggs and young are found, so may be taken as constituting the reproductive season.
From November till the end of March, cocoons were found suspended from the side near the bottom of the burrow. The cocoon is a flat sac and consists of a thin layer of silk containing the eggs overlain by a coarser layer. In Arbanitis huttoni the number of eggs in each cocoon is approximately 18 to 20, the diameter of an egg, being 1.5 mm. About five weeks after laying the spiderling hatches. This is very smooth and quite hairless and has no eyes. The abdomen shows the remnants of at least five segments in front of the anal tubercle. The spiderling moulted within 48 hours (23/12/41). The spider of the first instar is 3.0 mm. long; it is hairy and the eyes are present although no pigment develops at first. It is very inactive and does not feed. Just over a month later (27/1/42) this moults to produce the second instar form. This almost immediately becomes active: it is hairy, with a bluish cephalothorax and a pink abdomen. From the time they reached the first instar three of these spiders were kept in a glass dish with damp cotton wool one side and earth the other. Up till the time of reaching the second instar they kept on the cotton wool, but after this moved on to the earth, and a few days later they dug their burrows and lined them with silk. From now on they are typical Arbanitis huttoni specimens and the spines on the maxillae and legs are well developed. The length of the spider now is 3.5 mm. and the cephalothorax width is 1.0 mm. The diameter of the first burrow is about 2.0 mm.
Arbanitis huttoni was collected from the Town Belt, Dunedin, at all seasons of the year. Specimens were also collected from Frazer's Gully, Mt. Flagstaff (Dunedin), Goat Island (Otago Harbour), Papa-towai and Taieri Mouth. Arbanitis was the only genus found on Stewart Island during a short stay there. The nests were usually to be found on the bush floor and extended with the bush right down to sea level.
From the German Owl material, A. huttoni specimens were found from Riverton, Owaka, Balclutha and Invercargill, all south of Dunedin.
The genus Arbanitis, which is represented in Australia and New Zealand, has so far been found only in the South Island of New Zealand.
Arbanitis collensis n.sp.
The holotype is placed in the Otago Museum, and paratypes will be forwarded to other Museums if so requested.
Cephalothorax: Light brown. Fovea straight.
Abdomen: Very definite fern leaf pattern.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Six (to seven) large teeth on the inside of the groove and five small teeth on the outside.
Palp: One claw. Scopula on inferior surface of tarsus.
Maxilla: Few spines on anterior angle of inferior surface. Orange scopula of hair anteriorly. (Pl. 55, Fig. 4).
Labium: No spines.
Sternum: Fairly rectangular. Six sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 4).
Venter: Mottling in chocolate brown.
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. not their diameter apart .x1 diameter from f.l.e., which are the largest eyes and are x ¾ diameter from h.l.e. H.m.e. small, of pearly lustre. (Pl. 56, Fig. 28).
Tarsal claws of First Leg: Anterior superior claw with several pectinations. Posterior superior claw with two large pectinations (Pl. 57, Fig. 43).
Dimensions: cl. = 7.0 mm. cb. = 5.0 mm. al. = 11.0 mm. ab. = 6.0 mm.
This differs from A. huttoni in the following points:—
Abdominal marking; but it is conceivable how one may be derived from the other by increase in the pigmented area.
Difference in venter markings. This is particularly noticeable as A. huttoni has such a constant pattern.
Fewer spines on the maxillae.
Fewer cheliceral teeth in outside row.
No setae on tarsus I and II (cf. A. huttoni has setae on outside of tarsus I and II).
Tarsal claw pectinations.
No males were collected. This spider came from Bench Island and was found in branched tubes under logs. The specific name is derived from Coll, the other name for the island.
Arbanitis marplesi n.sp.
The holotype is placed in the Otago Museum.
Cephalothorax: Pale brown. Hairy. Procurved fovea.
Abdomen: Very light brown, with a dark median dorsal stripe with indications of three pairs of lateral branches coming from it.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Ten teeth on inside of the furrow, eight on the outside opposite and below the fifth inside. Four small median teeth between the base of the two rows. Scopula of hair on the upper outside half of the chelicera.
Palp: One claw. Tarsus with scopula of fine hair. Two bristles at base of tarsus.
Leg IV: Patch of short bristles on anterior inside edge of femur.
Maxilla: Anterior angle of inferior surface studded with spines (Pl. 55, Fig. 8).
Labium: No spines.
Sternum: Six sigillae (Pl. 55, Fig. 8).
Venter: Very pale with no distinct pattern. Lung books are white and conspicuous.
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. strongly recurved. f.m.e. x 1½ diameter apart and this distance from f.l.e., which are the largest and x 2 f.m.e. H.l.e. x ¾ diameter of f.l.e., and this diameter from the f.l.e. H.m.e. of pearly lustre x ½ h.l.e. and this distance from the h.l.e. (Pl. 56, Fig. 29).
Tarsal claw: One large pectination on superior claws. (Pl. 57. Fig. 42).
Dimensions: cl. = 7–0 mm. cb. = 5.0 mm. al. = 9.0 mm. ab. = 6.0 mm.
This species would seem to have possible affinities with A. gilliesii; however, the following points of difference may be noted:—
Pattern on the abdomen.
Larger number of teeth in the cheliceral furrow in this species.
Absence of pattern on the venter.
Difference in eye arrangement.
No males were collected. However, it seems to be a new species and I suggest that it be called Arbanitis marplesi after Professor B. J. Marples who collected it from Duntroon (near Oamaru).
The nests are found on clay limestone banks and are provided with a trap-door very similar to Arbanitis gilliesii.
Among the Mygalids from German Owls there were many spiders from Winchester and Fairlie district. These spiders were smaller than the Palmerston A. gilliesii males, with less spines on the maxilla and round the palpal alveolus (Pl. 58, Fig. 56). The small ness of size may be due to poorer feeding, and this may possibly account for less spines on the maxillae and palpal alveolus. Or it may be a separate species or sub-species of A. gilliesii, for of the 30 or so examined there was no variation among them. There is a further possibility that these males may belong to Arbanitis marplesi.
Arbanitis dendyi (Hogg, 1901).
Maoriana dendyi Hogg, H. R., 1901; P.Z.S. p. 237.
Cantuaria dendyi Hogg, H. R., 1902; P.Z.S.
The genus Maoriana was founded by Hogg (1901) and later changed by him to Cantuaria. His establishment of a new genus was based on the description of one female sent to him from Christchurch.
As given by Hogg, the following are the essential particulars wherein this spider differs from Arbanitis:—
The front row of eyes is only slightly procurved.
The hind row of eyes is not so recurved.
The thoracic fovea is deep and procurved.
The lip is broader than long.
The posterior sternal sigillae are large, lying half-way between the margin and the central line of the sternum and the others are away from the side margin.
Do any of these points warrant the establishment of a new genus? A rastellum is present, there is a scopula of hair on the metatarsi and tarsi on the first two pairs of legs. There are four spinnerets, six sigillae, and a transverse fovea—all of which surely indicate that this belongs to the genus Arbanitis and to this genus it has been transferred.
Cephalothorax: Very long and broad. Brown, with orangish tinge. Fairly smooth. Fovea straight—slightly procurved.
Abdomen: Fawnish with dark brown speckled pattern.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Eleven teeth on inside of the groove and about eight on outside of it. Thick scopula of orange hair outside this.
Palp: One claw. Scopula on inferior surface of tarsus.
Legs: Patella III and IV have a patch of short spines on anterior surface.
Maxilla: Anterior angle of inferior surface studded with spines and some large setae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 3).
Labium: Broader than long. Convex. Covered with setae.
Sternum: Six sigillae very well marked. Posterior pair pearshaped and lying half-way between the middle and the margin of the sternum. (Pl. 55, Fig. 3).
Venter: Pattern in dark brown.
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. hardly their diameter apart x 1 diameter from f.l.e., which are x 1 diameter from h.l.e. The h.m.e. are very small, of pearly lustre and x ½ diameter h.l.e. and about their diameter from the latter (Pl. 56, Fig. 27).
Tarsal claw: One large pectination on each superior claw. (Pl. 57, Fig. 41).
Dimensions: cl. = 8.5 mm. cb. = 6.0 mm. al. = 8.5 mm. ab. = 7.0 mm.
This description differs in some points from that of Hogg. He speaks of a “strongly procurved” fovea. Here this was straight to slightly procurved. The fore median eyes he describes as x 1½ diameter apart, here they were hardly their diameter apart. Nevertheless, it seems we are dealing with the same species, for, as well as
the similarities mentioned, the locality is the same, and would seem to be fairly restricted. Again, considering Hogg's description was taken from only one female, it may not be truly representative.
This is the first male of the species to be described, and the holotype is to be found in the Otago Museum.
Cephalothorax: Bright orangish. Radiating lines from the fovea very well marked by short setae. Fovea deep and recurved.
Abdomen: Cream, with speckled pattern in dark brown.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Seven large teeth on inside of groove and six small ones on outside near the base. Scopula of brownish hair on outside.
Palp: Bulb with long sharpish point. Alveolus fairly thickly beset with spines, specially on the basal half. No spines on dorsal surface of tarsus or tibia. (Pl. 58, Fig. 57.)
Maxilla: No spines. Scopula of orange hair. (Pl. 55, Fig. 7.)
Labium: Twice as wide as long.
Sternum: Six well-marked bright orange sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig, 7.)
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. x 1½ diameter apart x 1 diameter from f.l.e., which are x 1 diameter from h.l.e. The h.m.e. are small and of pearly lustre and practically adjoin the h.l.e.
Dimensions: cl. = 6.0 mm. cb. = 5.0 mm. al. = 6.0 mm. ab. = 4.0 mm.
Legs: i = 22 5 mm. ii = 21.0 mm. iii = 22.0 mm. iv = 27.5 mm. 4123.
The description of the male gives further evidence for the inclusion of the spider in the genus Arbanitis.
It is to be noted that this spider differs from A. marplesi in that—
The cephalothorax is smooth.
The dorsal abdominal pattern is different.
The sigillal arrangement is different.
The venter patterns differ.
The eye arrangement is different.
The burrow of this spider varies in depth from 4–8 inches, and it is covered by a trap-door. The nest is very similar to that of A. gilliesii. An unusual character noticed among these spiders is their non-cannibalistic habits. Some females and a male were kept in one box without any loss of limbs or life. Some kept under a grass sod always huddled together. This shows very different behaviour from any others studied, when to put more than one spider in a jar (without earth to burrow in) meant death to the weaker in a very short while.
Through the habit of taking in food in a liquid state only, spiders are unlikely to have internal parasites. Many, however, are parasitized by mites. These are usually to be found clinging to the cephalothorax and were common on Arbanitis dendyi.
A. dendyi has been collected from Christchurch. A German Owl sent from here contained one specimen. It has also been reported by Myers (1927, p. 129) from Wellington.
Genus Korua nov.
The genus is characterised by the absence of a scopula on the palpal tarsus and on the metatarsus and tarsus of the first two pairs of legs. There are six sternal sigillae. The upper claws are pectinated in a single row. Genotype: Korua wanganuiensis n.sp.
Korua wanganuiensis n.sp.
The holotype is in Otago Museum.
Female. (Described from one specimen only.)
Cephalothorax: Brown, fovea recurved.
Abdomen: Light brown with dark speckled pattern.
Chelicera: Rastellum. Seven teeth on inside of cheliceral groove. Five small teeth on outside.
Palp: One terminal claw. No scopula on tarsus but four to five spines on either side of tarsus.
Legs: No scopula on metatarsus or tarsus of legs I and II.
Maxilla: Spines on the anterior angle of the inferior surface. Scopula of orange hair anteriorly. (Pl. 55, Fig. 10).
Labium: No spines.
Sternum: Six sigillae. Posterior pair nearer centre than edge of sternum. (Pl. 55, Fig. 10).
Venter: Light brown speckled with dark brown.
Spinnerets: I. Unsegmented. II. Three segments; short; but these may be partly retracted.
Eyes: f.r. strongly procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. x 1 diameter apart and x 1½ diameter from f.l.e., which are x 2 diameter f.m.e. The h.l.e. x ¾ diameter f.l.e. and i diameter from these. The h.m.e. of pearly lustre. (Pl. 56, Fig. 30.)
Tarsal claws: Anterior superior claw with two large pectinations; posterior superior claw with one large pectination. (Pl. 57, Fig. 44.)
Dimensions: cl. = 6.0 mm. cb. = 5.0 mm. al. = 10.0 mm. ab. = 6.0 mm.
This differs from Arbanitis in the absence of a scopula on the palpal tarsus and on the metatarsus and tarsus of the first two pairs of legs. As this is a character of generic importance (Koch, 1874), this spider represents a new genus of the sub-family Ctenizinae.
One female only has been found in an open burrow in bush at Makirikiri, near Wanganui.
|1.||Posterior sigillae large, as near the middle as margin of sternum||2|
|Posterior sigillae nearer the margin than middle of sternum||3|
|2.||Tarsus of palp, metatarsus and tarsus of legs I and II without scopula||Korua wanganuiensis|
|Tarsus of palp, metatarsus and tarsus of legs I and II with scopula||Arbanitis dendyi|
|4.||Many spines on the maxilla||Arbanitis huttoni|
|Few spines on the maxilla||Arbanitis collensis|
|5.||Dorsal abdomen and venter patterned||Arbanitis gilliesii|
|Dorsal abdomen with median dark stripe, no pattern on venter||Arbanitis marplesi|
Chelicerae without a rastelum. Lip free. Maxillary lobes wanting. Three claws. Upper claws pectinate in a single or double row. Four or six spinnerets, superior pair long. Thoracic fovea variable.
Sub-family Diplurinae (Hogg's Brachytheleae).
Upper claws pectinated in a double row. Four spinnerets (Petrunkevitch).
Genus Aparua nov.
Six marginal sigillae. Tarsi Without spines. Scopula on all tarsi and on metatarsi I and II. Superior spinnerets not exceeding half the length of the abdomen. Tibia I of the male furnished with an apical spur. Burrower.
Genotype: Aparua, bipectinata n.sp.
It must be noted here that the burrowing habit of this spider should exclude it from the family Dipluridae, as defined by Petrunkevitch (1928, p. 16); for he states that the whole family are web-weavers. However, the absence of a rastellum and the presence of three tarsal claws bars its acceptance into other families to which it shows any affinity. In external appearance it bears strong resemblance to a Ctenizid, and the double row of tarsal pectinations are not unlike those of Nemesia (Pl. 57, Fig. 46). However, in the absence of a rastellum it cannot belong to this group. Aparua shows definite affinity to members of Hogg's Brachytheleae, but unfortunately there is no record of the habits of such forms as Aname, Ixamatus, Brachythele. Indeed their habit seems unknown. The Ctenizid appearance of this Diplurid may be consequential on its burrowing habit.
Aparua bipectinata n.sp.
The holotype is in Otago Museum.
Cephalothorax: Light brown. Fovea procurved.
Abdomen: Fawn with dark brown pattern.
Cheliecera: No rastellum. Anterior surface of chelicera armed with bristles. Eight teeth on inside and patch of minute ones near base at outside between last three inner teeth. Scopula of hair outside this.
Palp: One claw. Scopula on inferior surface of tarsus. No spines on tarsus. Claw pectinated in two rows.
Legs: Scopula of hair on metatarsus and tarsus of legs I and II. Slight scopula on tarsus of legs III and IV.
Maxilla: Anterior angle of inferior surface covered with short stout spines. Thinnish scopula of orange hair, some anteriorly. (Pl. 55, Fig. 9.)
Labium: Usually two to three short spines on anterior border of this. Some long setae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 9.)
Sternum: Six sigillae right on edge of sternum. Posterior pair making a dent.
Venter: Pattern in dark brown.
Spinnerets: I. Unsegmented and very small. II. Three long segments—as long as half the total length of the abdomen. The last segment slightly longer than the middle one and tapering to a point.
Eyes: f.r. straight, h.r. recurved. f.m.e. barely their diameter apart x ½ diameter from f.l.e. which are the largest and about x 1½ f.m.e. The h.l.e. practically adjoining f.l.e. and in like relation to the h.m.e. which are large and opalescent (Pl. 56, Fig. 33).
Tarsal claw: Double row of pectinations on superior claws. Small rudimentary inferior claw. (Pl. 57, Fig. 45, 45a.)
Dimensions: cl. = 5.0 mm. cb. = 4.0 mm. al. = 6 5 mm. ab. = 3.5 mm.
Male. (Described from one specimen.)
Cephalothorax: Brown. Fovea straight-procurved. Setae round edge of cephalothorax well marked.
Abdomen: Fawnish with dark brown chevron pattern.
Chelicera: No rastellum. Eight teeth on inside of groove. Some very small teeth at base on outside. Scopula of hair outside these.
Palp: Palpal organ consists of twisted bulb with very blunt point. There is no marked alveolus. No spines on tarsal or tibial joint. (Pl. 58, Fig. 58.)
Leg I: Tibia bearing large spine distally on inferior external surface. (Pl. 58, Fig. 65.)
Maxilla: Spines on anterior angle of inferior surface. Orange scopula along anterior border. (Pl. 55, Fig. 13.)
Labium: Rectangular. Setae. One small spine.
Sternum: Similar to female. Six sigillae. First two pairs near edge of sternum and the third pair right on the edge, making a dent in sternum. (Pl. 55, Fig. 13.)
Venter: Pattern in dark brown similar to the female.
Eyes: f.r. straight. h.r. recurved. The f.m.e. just diameter apart x ½ diameter from f.l.e., which are the largest eyes and about x 1½ f.m.e. The h.l.e. x ¾ f.l.e. practically adjoining these and in like relation to the h.m.e., which are quite large and opalescent.
Tarsal claws: Three. Superior claws pectinated in a double row.
Dimensions: cl. = 4.0 mm. cb. = 3.0 mm. al. = 4.0 mm. ab. = 2.5 mm.
The spider builds an open burrow without a trap-door. It is found on the bush floor or on banks just out of the bush. The burrow is lined with silk, it is unbranched and may be up to 6–7 inches in depth. It is similar in general appearance to an Arbanitis huttoni burrow. The generic name is a Maori word meaning “hole”.
Spiders were collected from bush at Makirikiri, near Wanganui. One female sent from Auckland seems to be the same though larger.
Sternum normal. Upper claws pectinated in a single row. Four spinnerets. Web-weavers.
Genus Porrhothele Simon, 1892.
Characteristic of the genus is the large size of the spiders. There are six sigillae. The tarsi of all the legs are without spines. In the male the tibia of the first leg has a swelling and the tarsus shape is characteristic. (Pl. 58, Fig. 67.)
Porrhothele antipodiana (Walckenaer, 1837).
Mygale antipodiana Walckenaer, 1837. Ins. Apt., 1, p. 230.
Mygale quoyi Lucas, 1846. d'Orbigny, Dict. d'Hist. 8, p. 503.
Ctenisa hexops and C. antipodum White, 1849. P.Z.S., p. 3.
Hexops whitei Aus., 1871. Verh. Ges. Wien., p. 155.
Macrothele insignipes Simon, 1891. Ann. Soc. Ent. Fr., 60, p. 308.
Porrothele antipodiana Simon, 1892. Histoiie Naturelle des Araignées, 1, p. 185.
Arbanitis kirkii Urquhart, 1893. T.N.Z.I. xxvi, p. 204.
Porrhothele antipodiana Simon. Hogg, H. R., 1901. P.Z.S., p. 266.
Porrhothele simoni Hogg, 1901. P.Z.S., p. 209.
A neotype of this species has been established and placed in the Otago Museum.
Cephalothorax: Bright orange ochreous. Fovea deep, circular, procurved (anterior curve). In front of the clypeus there is a triangular chitinised portion which can usually be seen from the dorsal surface.
Abdomen: No very marked pattern.
Chelicera: Fangs black-red. Ten irregular large black teeth on inside of furrow. Opposite the sixth there are two irregular rows of small, transparent teeth on the outside. Fine scopula on outside of this.
Palp: One claw. Fine scopula on tarsus.
Maxilla: Very thickly studded with spines. Orange scopula anteriorly. (Pl. 55, Fig. 17.)
Labium: Very thickly studded with spines.
Sternum: Six sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 17.)
Venter: Dark brown. Lung books and genital operculum made conspicuous by yellow outlines.
Spinnerets: I. Unsegmented. II. Three segments with length of 9.0 mm.
Eyes: f.r. straight, h.r. recurved. f.m.e. just their diameter apart x¾-x1 diameter from f.l.e., which are the largest eyes. The h.l.e. are same diameter as f.m.e. (x⅞ f.l.e.) and this distance from f.l.e. H.m.e. of pearly lustre x½ diameter h.l.e. (Pl. 56, Fig. 31.)
Tarsal claw: Seven pectinations running in a crosswise row on superior claws. (Pl. 57, Fig. 52.)
Dimensions: Some mature female measurements in millimetres:—
cl. = 11.0, 10.0, 10.0, 8.0, 7.5. cb. = 7.5, 9.0, 9.0, 7.0, 6.0. al. = 14.0, 14.5, 12.8, 13.0, 10.5. ab. = 10.5, 10.5, 8.0, 9.5, 7.0.
Cephalothorax: Bright orange yellow. Fovea very deep, circular.
Abdomen: Patterned. Very bristly.
Chelicera: Ten teeth on inside of the groove. One or two irregular rows of smaller light brown teeth on outside at base.
Palp: No real alveolus, but furrow with hairs on either side. Bulb drawn out to a very fine point. Ten stout black bristles on tip of radial joint of tarsus. (Pl. 58, Fig. 61.)
Leg. I: Tibia with spined swelling. (Pl. 58, Fig. 67.)
Maxilla: Studded with small spines. (Pl. 55, Fig. 21.)
Labium: Studded with small spines.
Sternum: Six sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 21.)
Spinnerets: I. Unsegmented. II. 6.5 mm. long.
Eyes. f.r. straight. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. x ¾ diameter apart and this distance from f.l.e., which are the largest. H.l.e. x 1 f.m.e. and this distance from f.l.e. The h.m.e. of pearly lustre x ½ f.l.e. and x ½ their diameter from h.l.e.
Hogg (loc. cit.) established a species Porrhothele simoni based on the following differences from P. antipodiana:—
The distance apart of the fore median eyes.
The colour of the thorax.
The curvature of the fovea.
His observations were made on two females sent to him from Christchurch.
Now, since the space between the eyes may vary slightly with age (de Dalmas, 1917) and the colour is also variable to some degree, usually being lighter in the younger spiders, two of these differences may be ignored. Further, it is a matter of opinion when dealing with a deepish circular fovea whether the anterior or posterior curve is the one regarded, and the curve will be recurved or procurved accordingly. From the drawing accompanying Hogg's description P. simoni would seem to have a fairly deep circular fovea. The validity of this species is very doubtful, and will remain so unless a male showing definite differences from P. antipodiana is found; until then it may be regarded as synonymous with P. antipodiana.
An examination of the type specimen of Arbanitis kirkii Urquhart, kindly sent down by the Canterbury Museum, showed that this belongs to the genus Porrhothele and is synonymous with P. antipodiana.
Porrhothele spins a tubular web under stones, logs, or the loose bark of trees. It may sometimes burrow into the earth to make a kind of main chamber to the nest. It is in this chamber that the cocoons are found, and the moulted skins of the spider are sometimes found here. Radiating threads usually extend out from the opening of the tube, which may be double. The length of the tube varies from 6–10 inches. The webs are constructed in a very short time, for in less than an hour a spider in a jar had spun quite an elaborate branching tube. The whole abdomen sways from side to side as the long spinnerets pay out their thick silk strands. The male spiders are found in similar nests to the females under stones, or bark or in crevices.
Food debris is found in the nest usually woven into the lining of the tube. The number of ecdyses gone through before the spiders reach maturity is not known. The spiders do moult, however, after they have reached maturity. Females with young have been found to do so, and the moulted skins of males complete with palpal organs have been collected. Times of moulting seem to be controlled mainly or entirely by food factors.
Dead male Porrhothele were found in nests in a peculiar fungal condition, being covered with a yellowish white fur. No explanation of this condition is offered. The male spider is about the same size as the female, with a somewhat smaller abdomen.
It seems very likely that the bumps and processes on the tibiae of the first leg in the males play an important part during the copulation of these spiders. Any two spiders of the same species coming face to face rear up raising their palps and the first two pairs of legs into the air, and the fangs are raised into a striking position. It is presumed that in courtship the male spider moves deftly and grasps the female with his first pair of legs, so that her fangs are held open, wedged between the groove on the tarsus and the bump on the tibia which close on each other to form an effective clamp. Thus free from the menace of the female's fangs the male is ready to copulate.
Eggs of Porrhothele were collected and allowed to develop. The cocoon contains an enormous number of eggs; the contents of one cocoon totalled 241. These eggs are quite loosely packed together in the cocoon, which consists of two thin layers of silk. Eggs collected early in December developed, and the spiderlings hatched approximately 30 days after laying. The spiderlings moulted after a few days. During the first instar period, the spiders are fairly inactive and lie on their backs stretching the limbs. These spiders moulted after about five weeks, and the second instar spiders are very active and hairy. They spin small web-tubes and begin to feed.
Porrhothele antipodiana has the widest distribution known among the Mygalids of New Zealand. In the vicinity of Dunedin it has been collected from Long Beach, Portobello, Quarantine Island, and from Akatore. In the North Island it is known from Wellington, Masterton and Wanganui.
Porrhothele huttoni (Cambridge, 1873).
Macrothele huttoni Cambridge, 1873. T.N.Z.I. vi, p. 200.
Porrhothele antipodiana Hogg, H. R., 1901. P.Z.S., p. 267.
Hogg (loc. cit.) considers P. huttoni synonymous with P. antipodiana. He does not appear quite justified in doing this, for, from Cambridge's description (loc. cit.) and from an examination of his accompanying plates there is no mention or drawing made of spines on the maxillae and labium. If this is really so, it would differ from the P. antipodiana male, and so surely constitute a new species. The fact that this was not remarked on is extraordinary; however, in the meantime, it is best left as a distinct species.
Porrhothele avocae n.sp.
The holotype is placed in the Otago Museum.
Cephalothorax: Constant pale yellowish brown. Fovea deep, circular, recurved (anterior curve). In front of the clypeus there is a small triangular chitinised portion which cannot generally be seen from the dorsal surface.
Abdomen: Greyish with long setae.
Chelicera: Ten irregular teeth on inside. Smaller ones in two irregular rows at the base.
Palp: One claw. Few setae.
Maxilla: Spinose. (Pl. 55, Fig. 18.)
Sternum: Six sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 18.)
Venter: Grey. Fairly smooth with fine hairs, yellowish brown over the lung books and genital operculum.
Spinnerets: I. Unsegmented. II. Three segments, 6.0 mm. long.
Eyes: f.r. straight, slightly procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. just less than their diameter apart and x ½ diameter from f.l.e., which are the largest eyes. The h.l.e. x ½ diameter of f.l.e. and x ½ this from f.l.e. The h.m.e. pearly lustre, triangular shape x ¾ h.l.e. (Pl. 56, Fig. 32.)
Tarsal claw: Nine to ten pectinations in crosswise row on superior claws (Pl. 57, Fig. 53.)
Dimensions: Mature females: cl. = 8.0 mm., 5.5 mm. cb. = 6 0 mm., 4.0 mm. al. = 8.5 mm., 8.0 mm. ab. = 6.0 mm., 6.0 mm.
Male. (From one specimen only.)
This had just moulted, so was pale yellowish and soft.
Fovea: Circular, deep, recurved.
Abdomen: Dark grey-black. No pattern. Long, fine setae on dorsal surface.
Chelicera: Eleven teeth on inside of furrow. Some smaller ones on outside near base.
Palp: Very simple. As in P. antipodiana. No marked alveolus.
Maxilla: Anterior angle with spines. Orange scopula anteriorly and a tuft of brown hair near the trochanterial end of the maxilla. (Pl. 55, Fig. 22.)
Labium: Spines and setae.
Sternum: Six large sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 22.)
Spinnerets: I. unsegmented. II. Three segments 6.0 mm. long.
Eyes: f.r. slightly recurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. their diameter apart and x ½ diameter from f.l.e. These are about x 1 ½ h.l.e. and x ½ diameter from them. H.m.e. solid U-shape open behind, where pigment is not yet present.
Dimensions: cl. = 8.0 mm. cb. = 7.0 mm. al. = 10.0 mm. ab. = 7.5 mm.
The spider builds tubes similar to P. antipodiana, and has been collected, so far, only at Avoca (Mid-Canterbury, in Arthur's Pass region). The altitude here is 3,662 feet.
|1.||Spines on maxilla and labium of male||2|
|No spines on maxilla and labium of male||P. huttoni|
|2.||Fore-median eyes diameter apart. Cephalothorax bright orange ochreous (but may vary). Size ranging up to 20.0 mm. in length. Male about 13.0 mm. in length. Abdomen dark-brown speckled pattern. Width 4.5 mm. Seven pectinations on superior tarsal claw.||P. antipodiana|
|Fore-median eyes less than diameter apart. Cephalothorax yellowish brown. Size 14.5 mm. Male (18.0 mm.) larger than female. Abdomen dark grey black. Width 7.5 mm. Nine to ten pectinations on superior tarsal claw.||P. avocae|
Upper claws pectinated in a single row. Six spinnerets. Eyes in a compact group. Thoracic groove transverse. Sigillae present.
Genus Hexathele Ausserer, 1871.
Hexathele hochstetteri Ausserer, 1871.
Hexathele hochstetteri, Ausserer, 1871. Verh. Ges. Wien. xxi, p. 172.
Hexathele hochstetteri, Koch, L., 1873. Arach. Aus. i, p. 459. Hogg, H. R., 1901. P.Z.S. p. 276.
Hexathele petriei, Goyen, 1886. T.N.Z.I. xix, p. 207. Hogg, H. R., 1901. P.Z.S., p. 278.
Hexathele huttoni Hogg, H. R., 1908. P.Z.S., p. 337.
Hexathele websteri Hogg, H. R., 1908. loc. cit. supra.
Hexathele hochstetteri, de Dalmas, 1917. Ann. Soc. Ent. Fr.
Cephalothorax: Yellowish-brown or orange colour. Fovea short, straight.
Abdomen: Dark patterned with five dorsal pairs of white spots.
Chelicera: Fifteen large irregular teeth on inside. Few minute ones on outside at the bottom.
Palp: One claw. Many spines on tarsus and metatarsus.
Maxilla: Fairly spinose from anterior angle extending over about half the surface. (Pl. 55, Fig. 19.)
Labium: Spines on anterior half.
Sternum: Squarish. Six sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 19.)
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. strongly recurved. f.m.e. just less than their diameter apart x ¾ diameter from f.l.e., which are the largest (x 2 f.m.e.). The h.l.e. x ¾ f.l.e. and h.m.e. about x 1 ½ f.m.e. (Pl. 56, Fig. 34.)
Tarsal claw: Eight-nine pectinations in crosswise row on superior tarsal claw. (Pl. 57, Fig. 47.)
Dimensions: cl. = 7.0 mm. cb. = 6.0 mm. al. = 10.0 mm. ab. = 7.0 mm.
Cephalothorax: Dark reddish brown. Fovea short, straight.
Abdomen: As in female. Dark, with light spots.
Chelicera: Ten teeth in row on inside, none on outside.
Palp: Bulb drawn out into a fine, sharp point; simple kind of alveolus. (Pl. 58, Fig. 62.)
Tibia and Tarsus of Leg I: Spined swelling on tibia, excavation of tarsus. (Pl. 58, Fig. 68.)
Maxilla: Spines on anterior angle. (Pl. 55, Fig. 23.)
Labium: Spines on anterior half.
Sternum: Like female. Six sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 23.)
Venter: Six spinnerets.
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. x ½ diameter apart and about this distance from larger (x 2 f.m.e.) f.l.e. The h.l.e. x ¾ f.l.e. and same distance from this as these are from f.m.e. The h.m.e. x 1 f.m.e. and about x ½ from f.m.e.
Dimensions: cl. = 7.0 mm. cb. = 6.5 mm. al. = 8.0 mm. ab. = 4.5 mm.
This description of the male fits in with Goyen's description of Hexathele petriei, which is here synonymized with II. hochstetteri. The colour difference (Goyen loc. cit.) may be due to climate. It is often noticed that further south animals tend to become darker due to increase in pigment. de Dalmas (op. cit.) also classes H. petriei as well as Hogg's H. huttoni and H. websteri as synonymous with H. hochstetteri.
These spiders are large and resemble Porrhothele not only in build but in habit. They construct tough tubular webs under stones, in banks or under the loose bark of trees.
Hexathele hochstetteri has been reported from both the North and South Islands.
Hexathele sandersoni n.sp.
The holotype is placed in the Otago Museum and paratypes will be sent to other Museums if requested.
Cephalothorax: Lightish brown—not yellow. Fovea circular and recurved, with well marked radiating lines out from it. The rear of the prosoma is markedly bilobed in shape.
Abdomen: Very marked pattern. Dark dorsal knotted median pigmented band with lateral branches down sides.
Chelicera: Twelve large teeth on inside. Some very minute ones on outside opposite the last five internal ones.
Palp: One claw with ten pectinations.
Maxilla: Spinose. (Pl. 55, Fig. 20.)
Labium: Anterior half spined.
Sternum: Six sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 20.)
Eyes: f.r. straight—slightly procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. less than their diameter apart and same distance from f.l.e., which are x 1 ½ diameter of f.m.e. The h.l.e. x 1 f.l.e. and x ¼ diameter from f.l.e. The h.m.e. of pearly lustre, triangular shape x ½ h.l.e. (Pl. 56, Fig. 35.)
Tarsal claw: Eight pectinations in crosswise row on superior claw. Inferior claw with two small pectinations. (Pl. 57, Fig. 48.)
Dimensions: cl. = 6.5 mm. cb = 5.0 mm. al. = 9.0 mm. ab. = 6:0 mm.
Cephalothorax: Yellowish brown. Fovea deep, recurved. Radiating lines from fovea well marked.
Abdomen: Very characteristic pattern. Dark knotted median band with regular lateral branches down the sides.
Chelicera: Twelve to fourteen irregular teeth on inside of groove. None on outside. Fine scopula of hair on outside.
Palp: Bulb drawn out into fine sharp point. Simple alveolus. (Pl. 58, Fig. 63.)
Tibia of Leg I: Distal swelling.
Maxilla: Spines on anterior angle. (Pl. 55, Fig. 24.)
Labium: Spines on anterior half, not thickly studded.
Sternum: Six sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 24.)
Eyes: f.r. procurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. hardly their diameter apart and about x ½ diameter from f.l.e. They are x 2 f.m.e. The h.l.e. x ⅞ f.m.e. The h.m.e. are triangular in shape adjoining the h.l.e. and x 1 f.m.e.
Dimensions: cl. = 6 0 mm. cb. = 5.5 mm. al. = 6.5 mm. ab. = 4.5 mm.
This species differs from H. hochstetteri in the distinctive abdominal pattern, the curvature of the thoracic fovea, the pectination of the inferior tarsal claw in H. sandersoni. The specific name is after Mr. W. Sanderson, who sent these spiders from North Auckland.
As in H. hochstetteri the web tube may be found under stones, in banks, or under the bark of trees. Radiating threads from the opening are usually present, and these though primarily to keep the large tube open, may serve to trap food.
A Hexathele sandersoni sent from Auckland on the 19th July was kept in a match-box with a little dry grass till the 9th August. It was then weighed before it was given some water. After drinking this it was again weighed, and it showed a 22% increase on the first weight. The actual increase in weight was 0 13 grams. This phenomenal percentage increase is in keeping with the large gut volume of the spider. The diverse branchings of the alimentary canal also makes fasting for long periods possible.
The heart beats could be observed clearly through the skin on the anterior dorsal part of the abdomen. Counts taken of Hexathele show variation with degree of excitement. The average number of beats per minute was 40, increasing to 80 when the spider was excited.
Hexathele sandersoni laid eggs in a cocoon on September 28th, 1942. There were 31 large eggs, with diameter of 1.75 mm. The cocoon was placed just below the exit attached to the side of the tube. The cocoon consisted of only one silk layer. This is an earlier date for cocoons than in the other Mygalids and may perhaps be accounted for by the milder northern climate. The eggs developed at about the same rate as Porrhothele.
H. sandersoni appears to be fairly widespread in the Auckland locality. Those sent were collected from Mata (N. Auckland) and from the Auckland Harbour region.
|1.||Fovea short, straight. Abdomen dark patterned with five pairs of white spots. Fifteen large teeth in cheliceral groove. Inferior tarsal claw without pectination||Hexathele hochstetteri|
|2.||Fovea deep, recurved. Very characteristic abdominal pattern. Dark median knotted band with lateral branches extending down the sides. Twelve large teeth in cheliceral groove. Inferior tarsal claw with two small pectinations.||Hexathele sandersoni|
Chelicerae without a rastellum. Three claws. Upper claws with one or several teeth sometimes dissimilar. Maxillary lobes wanting. Four spinnerets. Thoracic groove transverse. Sternum normal. With sigillae. Eight eyes in two rows. (Petrunkevitch, 1928.)
Thoracic groove simple. Third tibia normal. Head not elevated over thorax.
Genus Migas Koch, 1873.
The thoracic fovea is recurved, the chelicerae are geniculate, characteristically there is a row of spines along either side of the tarsus and metatarsus of the first two pairs of legs. There are two sigillae on the sternum.
Migas paradoxus Koch, 1873.
Migas paradoxus Koch, L., 1873. Arach. Aus., p. 467. Hogg, H. R., 1901. P.Z.S., p. 229. de Dalmas, 1917. Ann. Soc. Ent. Fr.
The type specimen of this species, the genotype, is in Vienna.
Cephalothorax: Brown. Fovea recurved.
Abdomen: Darker brown, with five pairs of lighter spots on the dorsal surface.
Chelicera: Geniculate. No rastellum. Three to four large spines on inside of cheliceral groove. Four smaller ones on outside.
Maxilla: Few scattered spines on anterior angle. Brownish-orange scopula anteriorly. (Pl. 55, Fig. 14.)
Labium: Rectangular in shape. Spines anteriorly.
Sternum: Triangular in shape. Two posterior sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 14.)
Venter: Pale brown.
Eyes: f.r. slightly recurved. h.r. strongly recurved, f.m.e. x ½ diameter apart. x 1 diameter from f.l.e. The h.l.e. x ½ diameter of f.l.e. and about x 1 diameter from f.l.e. The h.m.e. of pearly lustre. (Pl. 56, Fig. 36.)
Tarsal claw: Three pectinations on superior claws. (Pl. 57, Fig. 49.)
Dimensions: cl. = 5.0 mm. cb. = 4.0 mm. al. = 7.0 mm. ab. = 4.5 mm.
Referring to M. paradoxus, Hogg (loc. cit.) says that there is a remarkable double row of spines on metatarsus IV. Surely this is a mistranslation, for Koch says: “die beiden hinterpaare mit ausnahme eines dunnen stachels am ende der metatarsen unbewehrt.” Both the posterior pairs are unarmed with the exception of a thin spine at the end of the metatarsus.
M. paradoxus has a burrow with trap-door either in the ground or on trees.
Specimens were sent from Auckland, Wellington (Wilton's Bush) and New Plymouth.
Migas distinctus Cambridge, 1879.
Migas distinctus Cambridge, O. P., 1879. P.Z.S., p. 683. Goyen, P., 1886. T.N.Z.I. xix, p. 210.
Migas sandageri Goyen, 1890. T.N.Z.I. xxiii, p. 123.
Migas distinctus Hogg, H. R., 1901. P.Z.S., p. 229.
Migas sandageri Hogg, H. R., 1901. P.Z.S., p. 229.
Cephalothorax: Light to darkish brown.
Abdomen: Dark grey-black with five pairs of lighter spots on dorsal surface.
Chelicera: Three large teeth on inside of groove. Four on outside.
Palp: One claw with a large pectination. Tarsus and metatarsus bespined laterally.
Maxilla: Spines on anterior half of inferior surface. (Pl. 55, Fig. 11.)
Labium: Studded with thick black spines.
Sternum: Two sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 11.)
Venter: Pale brown.
Eyes: f.r. straight. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. their diameter apart and same distance from f.l.e. The h.l.e. x ¾ diameter from f.l.e. The h.m.e. of pearly lustre x ½ diameter from h.l.e. (Pl. 56, Fig. 37.)
Tarsal claw: Two to three sharp pectinations on superior claw. (Pl. 57, Fig. 50.)
Dimensions: Average length of the spider is 9.0 mm.
Cephalothorax: Bright pinkish orange. Dark brown round the ocular region. Setae round edge. Fovea recurved.
Abdomen: Small, dark brown, with traces of pattern like female.
Chelicera: Three large teeth on inside of groove. Four small ones on outside.
Palp: Bulb tapering to curved pointed tip. No marked alveolus. (Pl. 58, Fig. 59.)
Legs: 4123. No marked row of spines on tarsus and metatarsus I and II as in the females. Process on tibia I. (Pl. 58, Fig. 66.)
Maxilla: No spines, orange scopula anteriorly. (Pl. 55, Fig. 15.)
Labium: No spines. Covered with setae.
Sternum: Two sigillae covered with setae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 15.)
Venter: Dark brown. Lung books and genital operculum lighter.
Eyes: f.r. recurved. h.r. recurved. f.m.e. x 1 diameter apart and x 1 diameter from f.l.e. The h.l.e. x 1 diameter from f.l.e. The h.m.e. of pearly lustre x ½ diameter from h.l.e.
Dimensions: cl. = 3.0 mm. cb. = 3.0 mm. al. = 3.5 mm. ab. = 2.0 mm.
Hogg (loc. cit.) in his key to the Migas species distinguishes M. sandageri from M. distinctus by the absence of spines on the maxillae and labium of the latter. Spines are absent only in the male spider. The female (Cambridge loc. cit.) has a spinose labium and maxilla as described above. The elimination of this supposed difference makes M. sandergeri synonymous with M. distinctus. The habit of building the nest on the bark of a tree (Goyen loc. cit.) is of no specific importance as M. distinctus also sometimes does this. M. distinctus may be distinguished from M. paradoxus by its smaller size, difference in abdominal colour and markings, the hexagonal shape of the sternum (cf. M. paradoxus is triangular). There are more spines on the labium. The front row of eyes is straight and the fore median eyes are their diameter apart (cf. M. paradoxus, front row of eyes are slightly recurved and the fore median eyes are half their diameter apart).
de Dasmas (op. cit.) also doubted the validity of M. sandageri, and he placed it as synonymous with M. paradoxus, de Dalmas
Sternum, Maxillae and Labium.
Fig. 1—A. gilliesii female.
Fig. 2—A. huttoni female.
Fig. 3—A. dendyi female.
Fig. 4—A. collensis female.
Fig. 5—A. gilliesii male.
Fig. 6—A. huttoni male.
Fig. 7—A. dendyi male.
Fig. 8—A. marplesi female.
Fig. 9—Aparua bipectinata female.
Fig. 10—K. wanganuiensis female
Fig. 11—M. distinctus female.
Fig. 12—M. taierii female.
Fig. 13—Aparua bipectinata male
Fig. 14—M. paradoxus female.
Fig. 15—M. distinctus male.
Fig. 16—M. taierii male.
Fig. 17—P. antipodiana female.
Fig. 18—P. avocae female.
Fig. 19—H. hochstetteri female.
Fig. 20—H. sandersoni female.
Fig. 21—P. antipodiana male.
Fig. 22—P. avocae male.
Fig. 23—H. hochstetteri male.
Fig. 24—H. sandersoni male.
Eyes X 2 ½.
Fig. 25—A. gilliesii..
Fig. 26—A. huttoni.
Fig. 27—A. dendyi.
Fig. 28—A. collensis.
Fig. 29—A. marplesi.
Fig. 30—K. wanganuiensis.
Fig. 31—P. antipodiana.
Fig. 32—P. avocae.
Fig. 33—Aparua bipectinata.
Fig. 34—H. hochstetteri.
Fig. 35—H. sandersoni.
Fig. 36—M. paradoxus.
Fig. 37—M. distinctus.
Fig. 38—M. taierii.
Tarsal Claws X 7 ½
Fig. 39—A. gilliesii.
Fig. 40—A. huttoni.
Fig. 41—A. dendyi.
Fig. 42—A. marplesi.
Fig. 43—A. collensis.
Fig. 44—K. wanganuiensis.
Fig. 45, 45a—Aparua bipectinata.
Fig. 46—Nemesia sp.
Fig. 47—H. hochstetteri.
Fig. 48—H. sandersoni.
Fig. 49—M. paradoxus.
Fig. 50—M. distinctus.
Fig. 51—M. taierii.
Fig. 52—P. antipodiana.
Fig. 53—P. avocac.
Palpal Organs of Male.
Fig. 54—A. gilliesii. X 3.
Fig. 55—A. huttoni. X 3.
Fig. 56—Arbanitis sp. from Winchester. X 3.
Fig. 57—A. dendyi. X 3.
Fig. 58—Aparua bipectinata. X 5
Fig. 59—M. distinctus. X 5.
Fig. 60—M. taierii. X 5.
Fig. 61—P. antipodiana. X 3.
Fig. 62—H. hochstetteri. X 3.
Fig. 63—H. sandersoni. X 3.
Tibia of 1st Leg of Male. X 3.
Fig. 64—A. gilliesii.
Fig. 65—Aparua bipectinata.
Fig. 66—M. distinctus.
Fig. 67—P. antipodiana.
Fig. 68—H. hochstetteri.
separated the species into those that lived on trees M. paradoxus, and those that burrowed in the ground M. distinctus. The fact that M. sandageri was found on trees caused him to place it with M. paradoxus. However, M. distinctus also makes nests on trees and from Goyen's description M. sandageri appears synonymous with M. distinctus.
The Miginae all possess unbranched trap-door nests. Migas distinctus nests have been found in the ground, under stones or on trees. In every case they have been coastal, and instances of spiders in the three places may be found within a hundred-yards of one another at Long Beach (Dunedin). When found on cliffs or banks by the sea, the burrow is usually about two and a-half inches deep and the trap-door seldom exceeds ¼ inch in diameter. On trees the nests are shorter, from an inch to an inch and a half. They were found in elderberry and kowhai trees: in the latter case they were restricted to the basal two feet of the tree, but on the elderberry they were found as high up as eight feet from the ground. The door is generally at the end, but specimens have been found where it may be central, or there may be a door at either end of the nest. The nests found under stones were shorter still, about ½ inch to 1½ inches in length. Migas has no rastellum on the chelicerae, but on either side of the metatarsus and tarsus of the palp and first two pairs of legs there is a row of strong setae which are used in digging the burrow. Several young Migas distinctus 2.5 mm. long were observed under the binoculars, making their first nest. The spider turns about a few times making a slight hollow before the process of digging begins.
During the excavation the fangs carry up grains of earth which are flicked away from the burrow by the pedipalps sometimes to a distance of an inch from the mouth of the tube. This process continues until the depth of the burrow well exceeds the length of the spider. The spinnerets move back and forth lining the tube with silk as this is excavated, and when deep enough the spider builds up a little wall round the mouth of the tube. To do this it brings up from the bottom of the burrow pellets of earth which are put into place with the aid of the pedipalps. When the wall is complete and it has been further strengthened by a layer of silk the spider appears to rest for a while before beginning the construction of the door, which is begun from the hinge. From the bottom or sides of the hole the spider collects earth which is pressed into a flat, roughly rounded pellet and carried up in the fangs. Possibly some form of secretion is excuded to get it into this pellet form. The first two pairs of legs gain a hold on the little wall round the mouth of the tube, while the pedipalps help to put the pellet into place. The spider continues to bring up pellet after pellet which are of the same size and seem to be fitted into place by the pedipalps. After the placing of each pellet the spider turns round and with the spinnerets upper-most lines the completed part with silk. As more pellets are incorporated this gradually takes the form of a door, and every now and then the spider will pull on this from the inside and shut it, then
push it up again and continue to add to it in a half-closed position. The moving up and down will cause the door to crack in a straight line near the edge of the opening, but as this is reinforced with the silk lining it will not separate from the side of the burrow but will form an admirable hinge. When the door is almost large enough to cover the opening it remains shut, and is completed to the exact requirements from inside. This finished, the spider usually adds more silk round the mouth of the tube. In the case observed the door measured 1 mm. in diameter and the time taken for the excavation and construction was 2¼ hours. Another young spider took 2½ hours to complete the nest.
If the trap-door of a Migas nest is opened it will remain so (cf. Arbanitis gilliesii) until the spider shuts it. To do this it runs up the back of the burrow across the hinge and its weight shuts the door. The spider can hold the door shut by getting a firm grasp on it with the fangs and tarsal claws of the palps and first two pairs of legs. This makes the door extremely difficult to open and if forced often means the tearing of the door before the spider relaxes its hold. The male spiders are not uncommon and are smaller than the females with longer legs. They make their own trapdoor nests and live on after the breeding season. In the burrowing Mygalids food remains may be deposited inside the burrow as in Arbanitis or outside the burrow as is the rule in Migas spp. The nests are usually on a bank or tree, and the debris when it is carried to the door will roll away from the mouth of the nest.
Eggs and early stages of M. distinctus were collected from December to March. The cocoons are attached to the side of the burrow near the base. The diameter of the egg is 1.0 mm., and 20 to 30 pinkish-yellow eggs are found in each cocoon. About a month after laying the spiderlings hatch, and these moult within a few days. The first instar spiders are inactive and unpigmented. The second moult occurs in just less than a month to produce the active second instar spider which has a bright pink abdomen and is pigmented. In natural conditions this moult takes place in the cocoon within the mother's burrow. It is probable that at this stage she tears open the cocoon and allows the escape of the young, which remain in the nest with her for a short time. Here they are often to be found in the day-time sitting near the opening and showing a decided liking for light. Soon they leave the maternal nest and dig their own burrows.
To test the method by which the young are distributed four spiders which had just emerged from the mother's nest were placed on some soil in a jar which was put in a bowl of water to prevent them leaving the soil. A stick was placed standing up in the soil and a slight draught was allowed to pass over the jar. It is well known that young Araneomorph spiders distribute themselves by climbing up a branch and setting sail from it on a silken thread. Of these four spiders only one so much as went near the stick, and it climbed up only about ½ an inch and then came down. The spiders made for the edge of the jar and eventually settled down and began digging their burrows which took up to 2½ hours to complete. This would indicate that Mygalomorph spiders do not distribute themselves on gossamer threads as do the Araneomorphs.
The pink colour of the abdomen is gradually lost after the spider has been in the burrow for a while, and soon it has the typical adult appearance with dark legs and cephalothorax and a rounded dark abdomen.
The very method of distribution which excludes the use of gossamer for floating on air currents will serve to keep the spiders within near range of one another. This method, or lack of method in spreading themselves seems to be the main limiting factor in their distribution. Migas distinctus has been collected from the Otago Peninsula and as far north as Shag Point, Palmerston. It appears to be a typically coastal species. Gatenby (1911) reports it from Wellington, and this range can be further extended to Mokohinou Island, where Goyen found his M. sandageri.
Migas taierii n.sp.
The holotype is placed in the Otago Museum.
Cephalothorax: Varied from a reddish brown to a greyish brown colour. Fovea recurved.
Abdomen: Light brown with a darker pattern.
Chelicera: Three large teeth on inside of groove. Four smaller ones on outside.
Maxilla: Lightly spined. (Pl. 55, Fig. 12.)
Labium: Lightly spined anteriorly.
Sternum: Pale straw-colour. Blunt triangular shape. Two sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 12.)
Venter: Pale brownish yellow. Cream colour round the lung-books and genital operculum.
Eyes: f.r. recurved (sometimes almost straight). h.r. recurved. f.m.e. x 1 diameter apart and x 1½ to 2 diameter from f.l.e. The h.l.e. x ½ diameter of f.l.e. and x 1 diameter from f.l.e. The h.m.e. are of pearly lustre adjoining the h.l.e. (Pl. 56, Fig, 38.)
Tarsal claw: Three to four pectinations on superior claws. (Pl. 57, Fig. 51.)
Dimensions: Average length 14.0 mm. cl. = 6.0 mm., 5.0 mm., 6.0 mm., 5.5 mm, cb. = 5.0 mm, 5.0 mm., 5.5 mm., 5.0 mm. al. = 9.0 mm., 8.0 mm., 8.5 mm., 9.0 mm. ab. = 6.5 mm., 6.0 mm., 7.0 mm., 6.5 mm.
The species differs from M. distinctus in the following ways:—
General size, colouring and appearance.
Smaller number of spines on labium and maxillae.
Shape of sternum.
Eye arrangement. Distance from f.l.e. to f.m.e.
One spine on metatarsus II (cf. M. distinctus, two spines on metatarsus II).
Two spines on metatarsus IV (cf. M. distinctus, four spines on metatarsus IV).
Cephalothorax: Light pinkish brown—darker brown from fovea forward to ocular region. Fovea very recurved.
Abdomen: Small. Fawn with darkish brown pattern.
Chelicera: Three large teeth on inside of groove, four small ones on outside.
Palp: Bulb of palpal organ tapering to a curved pointed tip. Six to eight stout bristles borne on tarsal joint proximal to bulb. (Pl. 58, Fig. 60.)
Leg I: Tibia bearing spur on outside edge.
Maxilla: No spines. Short scopula of bright orange hair anteriorly. (Pl. 55, Fig. 16.)
Labium: No spines.
Sternum: Two sigillae. (Pl. 55, Fig. 16.)
Venter: Pale brown. Very pale lung books and genital operculum.
Eyes: f.r. recurved. h.r. recurved. The f.m.e. less than (x ½—x ¾) diameter apart and x 1 from f.l.e. The h.l.e. x ½ f.l.e. and x 1½—2 from f.l.e. The h.m.e. of pearly lustre x ¾ f.l.e. and practically adjoining these.
Dimensions: cl. = 4.0 mm. cb. = 4.0 mm. al. = 4.0 mm. ab. = 2.5—3.0 mm. (cf. M. distinctus cl. = 3.0 mm. cb. = 3.0 mm. al. = 3.5 mm. ab. = 2.0 mm.)
Legs without coxal joint 22.214.171.124. (cf. M. distinctus) I. 13.0 mm., (11.0). II. 12.0 mm., (10.0). III. 10.0 mm., (8.5). IV. 14.0 mm., (11.5).
Migas taierii male differs from that of Migas distinctus in its larger size, lighter colouring, eye arrangement. There is very little difference in the palpal organ, though there appear to be more bristles on the palpal tarsus in M. taierii.
The proposed name for the species, Migas taierii is after the restricted locality in which it is to be found at Taieri Mouth (Dunedin).
M. taierii lives on sandy banks in trap-door burrows which are lined with a coarse silk. The average depth of the tube is 3½ inches, and the diameter from 10.0–15.0 mm.
Eggs of M. taierii were collected from November to March and all stages from the earliest were observed. The number of eggs in the cocoon varies but is always many more than in M. distinctus. Three that were counted contained 80, 91, and 157 eggs respectively.
A cocoon of eggs at a very early stage in development was collected on the 29th November, 1941. These continued development in moist surroundings at room temperature. The beginning of gastrulation with the development of the ventral segments and the appearance of five limb rudiments was evident by the 5th December, 1941, and became increasingly so with lengthening of the limbs. Three pairs of rudimentary abdominal appendages were noticeable by the 15th December. The process of reversion brought about by growth of the dorsal surface had by this time begun and became more marked until the spiderling was ready to hatch. On the 19th January, 1942, approximately five weeks after the eggs were laid, the spiderling hatched. The spiderling is very smooth, white, hairless, and without eyes. There are traces of segmentation in the abdomen, particularly just anterior to the anal tubercle, where the
remnants of six segments are quite clearly visible. The palpal coxae, the maxillac, have not yet moved to a position anterior to the mouth. Through the dorsal abdominal wall the heart can be seen, and it is interesting to note that this has four pairs of ostia. In the adult the last pair has disappeared to leave three pairs. The legs have the full complement of seven segments. By the 17th January short hairs can be seen underneath the skin, and on 19th January the moult takes place. The first instar spiders are not active, and do not feed. The eyes are present but there is no pigment. Spines are present on the chelicerae, maxillae and legs and the body is covered with fine hairs. A trace of abdominal segmentation is still evident in the presence of one segment in front of the anal tubercle. The spider is normally still within the cocoon at this stage. It executes slow stretching movements of the palps and legs. If it were not for the presence of hair and spines at this stage it might easily be mistaken for an Araneomorph spiderling. By the 2nd February pigment has developed round the eyes, and the pattern on the abdomen is visible. The next moult took place on February 13th. The second instar spiders are very active and hairy, with a pink abdomen patterned in brown. Spines develop on the labium, and there is dense pigmentation round the ocular region and on the dorsal abdomen. It is at this stage that they leave the cocoon and live for a few days in the mother's burrow, before settling down to dig their own nest. Silk is now produced, and the spiders usually trail a drag-line of silk behind them; they can move without doing this, however.
The most critical periods of a spider's life are at the moulting stages between the instars. The moult between the first and second instar was observed on two occasions. A split appears at the front of the cephalothorax and the whole covering separates off from the beneath part, extending back through the pedicle to the abdomen. Then the spider, heaving and pulling, slowly begins to extricate the legs and other appendages, while the skin over the abdomen shrivels and leaves this free to be withdrawn. The process takes about 1½ hours to complete, then the extricated spider remains quite motionless by the empty skin for about three hours. At the end of this time the spider becomes an active second instar form which rapidly becomes more deeply pigmented. Growth is slow, and though not definitely known, it is likely that the spiders take up to two years or more to reach maturity.
M. taierii has been found only in a very restricted region at Taieri Mouth (Dunedin). The nests are on a bank (about 50 yards from the store) right on the beach, and the small nest area is situated just above the high-tide level.
|1.||Average length 14.0 mm., with pale abdominal colouring||M. taierii|
|Average length 9–12.0 mm., with dark abdominal colouring||2|
|2.||Triangular-shaped sternum. f.r. eyes slightly recurved. f.m.e. x ½ diameter apart||Migas paradoxus|
|Hexagonal-shaped sternum. f.r. eyes straight. f.m.e. x 1 diameter apart||M. distinctus|
The following is the revised list of New Zealand genera and species of the sub-order Mygalomorphae:—
Arbanitis Koch, 1874.
A. gilliesii (Cambridge, 1877).
A. huttoni Cambridge, 1879.
A. collensis n.sp.
A. marplesi n.sp.
A. dendyi (Hogg, 1901).
Korua gen. nov.
K. wanganuiensis gen. et sp. nov.
Aparua gen. nov.
A. bipectinata gen. et sp. nov.
Porrhothele Simon, 1892.
P. antipodiana (Walckenaer, 1837).
P. huttoni (Cambridge, 1873).
P. avocae n.sp.
Hexathele Ausserer, 1871.
H. hochstetteri. Ausserer, 1871.
H. sandersoni n.sp.
Migas Koch, 1873.
M. paradoxus Koch, 1873.
M. distinctus Cambridge, 1879.
M. taierii n.sp.
A systematic review with biological and distributional notes has been made on the New Zealand Mygalomorphae. The following new species have been described:—Arbanitis collensis, Arbanitis marplesi, Korua wanganuiensis, Aparua bipectinata, Porrhothele avocae, Hexathele sandersoni and Migas taierii.
Cantuaria dendyi (Hogg) has been transferred to the genus Arbanitis, and is now A. dendyi. Porrhothele simoni (Hogg) and Arbanitis kirkii (Urquhart) have been placed as synonymous with P. antipodiana Simon.
Two new genera, Korua and Aparua, have been established, described and figured. The type species are Korua wanganuiensis and Aparua bipectinata. The latter is the only member of the sub-family Diplurinae so far described from New Zealand.
The writer wishes to express her thanks to Professor B. J. Marples for suggesting the subject and for his kindly advice and help throughout the paper's preparation.
Cambridge, O. P., 1873. On the Spiders of New Zealand. Trans N.Z. Inst., vol. vi, pp. 187–207.
—– 1877. On a New Species of Trapdoor Spider from New Zealand. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. x, pp. 281–287.
—– 1879. On New Spiders from New Zealand. P.Z.S. Lond., pp. 681–702.
Dalmas, Comte de, 1917. Araignées de Nouvelle Zelande. Ann. Soc. Ent. Fr., pp. 317–430.
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Gillies, R., 1875. On the Habits of the Trap-door Spider. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. viii, pp. 222–262.
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—– 1890. Description of a New Species of Migas. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxiii, pp. 123–126.
—– 1891. On New Zealand Arancae. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxiv, pp. 253–257.
Hogg, H. R., 1901. On Australian and New Zealand Spiders of the Sub-order Mygalomorphae. P.Z.S. Lond., pp. 218–279.
—– 1908. Some Australasian Spiders. P.Z.S. Lond., pp. 335–344.
Hutton, F. W., 1904. Index Faunae Novae Zealandiae.
Koch, L., 1873–4. Die Arachniden Australiens. 3 vols.
Marples, B. J., 1942. A Study of the Little Owl, Athene noctua, in New Zealand. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. lxxii, pp. 237–252.
Myers, J. G., 1927. Ethological Notes on some New Zealand Spiders. N.Z. Journ. Sci. Tech., vol. ix, pp. 129–136.
Petrunkevitch, A., 1928. Systema Aranearum.
Simon, E., 1892. Histoire Naturelle des Araignées. 2 vols.
Urquhart, A. T., 1893. Descriptions of New Species of Araneae. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxvi, pp. 204–218.**
[Footnote] * Chamberlain, G., 1944. Revision of the Araneae of N.Z. Part I. Rec. Auck. Inst. Mus., vol. iii, no. 1, pp. 69–78.
[Footnote] * Published a few months after this paper was read, this reference is added here to give a complete literature.