Tapinauchenius polybotes , Huesser, Martin, 2018

Huesser, Martin, 2018, A first phylogenetic analysis reveals a new arboreal tarantula genus from South America with description of a new species and two new species of Tapinauchenius Ausserer, 1871 (Araneae, Mygalom, ZooKeys 784, pp. 59-93: 59

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scientific name

Tapinauchenius polybotes

sp. n.

Tapinauchenius polybotes  sp. n. Figs 7, 8, 9

Material examined.

Male holotype and female paratype from Saint Lucia, Lesser Antilles deposited in SMF, leg. Sanchez, don. B Rast, 2013; examined.

Other material examined.

1 female (MHCOL_0034) and 1 male (MHCOL_0048)


The specific epithet is a noun in apposition, referring to the giant Polybotes originating in the Greek mythology and is in reference to the large size of the species compared to congeners of the genus and subfamily in general.


Tapinauchenius polybotes  differs from all other Tapinauchenius  species by its large overall size in both male and female specimens and the fact that it’s only known from the type locality, with high possibility of endemism due to its location.

Males additionally differ from all other Tapinauchenius  species by having the embolus strongly S-curved to retrolateral side in apical fourth (Figure 9c), otherwise only known from species of Ephebopus  , as shown by West et al. (2008: Figs 7-9).

Description of male holotype.

Specimen preparation and condition: Adult female collected at the type locality in 2010 by A Sanchez. In captivity, female built an egg sack of which the specimens (holotype and paratype) were raised to adulthood and then donated to the author by B Rast, collected alive as adult specimens, preserved in 80% ethanol; original colouration faded due to preservation. Right legs I, III, IV, and right pedipalp removed for measurements and photographs; stored in vial with specimen. Tissue for DNA was extracted.

General colouration: Faded black/blueish. Cephalothorax: Carapace 19.421 mm long, 16.412 mm wide; densely clothed with faded pubescence, appressed to surface; fringe covered in long white setae not closely appressed to surface, hirsute appearance; foveal groove medium deep and straight; pars cephalica region rises very gradually from foveal groove on a straight plane towards the ocular area; AER procurved, PER recurved; clypeus extends slightly on a curve; LBl 3.314, LBw 3.021; sternum hirsute, clothed with faded, densely packed, short setae. Abdomen: Densely clothed in short black/brown pubescence with numerous longer, lighter setae . Legs: Hirsute; densely clothed in faded pubescence. Metatarsus I straight. F1 16.962; F1w 4.232; P1 9.171; T1 14.816; M1 12.983; A1 7.151; F3 13.892; F3w 3.895; P3 7.462; T3 11.122; M3 9.834; A3 7.167; F4 17.916; F4w 4.641; P4 8.266; T4 13.873; M4 16.368; A4 8.143; femur III is normal. All tarsi fully scopulate. Extent of metatarsal scopulation: leg III (SC3) = 60%; leg IV (SC4) = 78%. Two ventral spinose setae on metatarsus III; five ventral spinose setae on metatarsus IV; one prolateral spinose seta on tibia I; one megaspine on the apex on the retrolateral branch of the tibial apophyses. Coxa I: Prolateral surface covered by fine, hair-like setae. Tibia I: two apophyses that do not originate from a common base, Pap short and strong, with one short spine on inner face; the Rap is well developed, broad at its base with one short and strong spine on the inner face and two short and strong spines on top; Pedipalps: Hirsute; densely clothed in the same setal colour as the other legs, with numerous longer ventral setae; one spinose seta at the apical, prolateral femur and three prolateral spinose setae on the palpal tibia. PTl 7.145, PTw 2.145. Palpal bulb large, globular, short slender embolus tapering slightly apically, two times longer than the tegulum, “S” shapely curved to retrolateral side on apical fourth (Figure 9c). The embolus base shows a clear separation from the tegulum, with the width of the embolus base 3/5 of the tegulum height.

Description of female paratype.

Specimen preparation and condition: Origin same as holotype; collected alive, preserved in 80% ethanol. The original colouration has faded due to the preservation. A 50 mg tissue sample was extracted for DNA analysis.

General colouration: faded black. Cephalothorax: carapace is 20.14 mm long and 16.542 mm wide. It is densely clothed with short faded black/brown pubescence closely appressed to surface, the fringe is densely covered in slightly longer setae; foveal groove is medium deep and slightly procurved; cephalic region gently rises from the thoracic furrow, arching anteriorly toward the ocular area. AER is slightly procurved; PER very slightly recurved; clypeus extends forward on a curve; LBl 3.514, LBw 3.014. The sternum is covered with short faded setae. Abdomen: densely clothed dorsally in short faded black setae with longer, lighter setae (generally red in situ). Spermathecae: paired and separate, with capitate bulbs widening towards the bases and not fused. Legs: densely clothed in short faded black/blue pubescence. F1 17.132; F1w 5.142; P1 9.214; T1 15.212; M1 13.213; A1 7.211; F3 14.212; F3w 4.215; P3 7.512; T3 11.32; M3 10.132; A3 7.321; F4 18.217; F4w 5.241; P4 8.576; T4 14.576; M4 16.678; A4 8.213. All tarsi are fully scopulate. Extent of the metatarsal scopulation: leg III (SC3) = 66% and leg IV (SC4) = 54%. Ventral and prolateral spinose setae on metatarsus IV, five ventral spinose setae and one prolateral spinose seta on metatarsus IV. Pedipalps: densely clothed in the same setal colour as the other legs.

Distribution and natural history.

Only known from the island of Saint Lucia, Lesser Antilles.


In pet trade, specimens labelled as Tapinauchenius sanctivincenti  and Tapinauchenius cf. sanctivincenti  belong to the same species described here as Tapinauchenius polybotes  sp. n. Pet trade material originates from the mother of the type material of the species herein described. Shortly after introduction to the hobby, the species was available under the name of Tapinauchenius cf. sanctivincenti  and Tapinauchenius  sp. "St. Lucia".

No threat through poaching or smuggling of animals out of the country of origin is to be expected, since T. polybotes  is breed successfully in the pet trade all around the world since 2012. Egg sac of T. polybotes  typically contain between 80 and 190 spiderlings, depending on the size of the female. (pers. obs. and B Rast pers. comm.)