Maratus mungaich Waldock 1995

Jürgen C. Otto & David E. Hill, 2014, Spiders of the mungaich group from Western Australia (Araneae: Salticidae: Euophryinae: Maratus), with one new species from Cape Arid, Peckhamia 112 (1), pp. 1-35: 13-17

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Maratus mungaich Waldock 1995


Maratus mungaich Waldock 1995 

This was the first described species in this group ( Waldock 1995), now known only from a relatively small area to the east of Perth ( Waldock 2013; Figure 12 View Figure :2). Jürgen Otto collected most of the M. mungaich  illustrated here at Mt. Dale east of Perth (S 32° 07' 39.2'', E 116° 17' 25.0'', elevation ~414 m; Figure 11 View Figure : locality 5), and additional photographs of this species from the Talbot Road Nature Reserve ( Bokhari 2012, Hort 2012; Figure 11 View Figure : locality 6) have also been examined.

Field marks for identification of the male ( Figures 16-18View Figure 16View Figure 17View Figure 18). Important features of the male M. mungaich  are enumerated here and compared with the male M. sarahae  in the next section. Among the many differences between the two species, the anterior lateral field of iridescent scales that are extensive and usually appear dull green in M. mungaich  ( Figures 16-17View Figure 16View Figure 17: feature 10) are perhaps the most obvious distinction. The carapace of both species has a thick marginal band comprised of white setae. The eye region of M. mungaich  is covered with relatively bright red-brown setae. Tibia III is dark red-brown, fringed below with uniform black setae. Metatarsus III is dark red-brown to black, and the entire tarsus III is covered with long white, and no black, setae. We have tentatively identified a form that has been consistently found near Mt. Talbot ( Figure 17 View Figure :2) as this species. Since this is not far from Mt. Dale, one suspects that dispersal may be limited in this species, and additional variations associated with local populations may be found in the future.

Female features ( Figures 19-20View Figure 19View Figure 20). Female M. mungaich  are, like those of most other Maratus  , relatively uniform in colouration and difficult to identify when not associated with the males. Waldock's (1995) figure of a paratype female specimen suggests a uniform black eye region in this species, although she describes a covering of setae as we have observed ( Figure 19 View Figure ). With respect to the structure of the epigynum, our specimens varied but generally differed from this paratype description with repect to the shape of the spermathecae (oval but circular in outline in the paratype), and the relative separation of the fossae (greater in the paratype). This suggests that, in the absence of a study of individual variation, one must not depend too much on the details of epigynal structure for identification.

Male courtship display ( Figures 21-22View Figure 21View Figure 22). Male M. mungaich  often side-step as they hold legs III in the extended position shown here, and rotate the fan from side to side.

The observed movement of M. mungaich  was relatively simple and patterned. The male would side step in front of the female, assume this characteristic pose as it moved the pedipalps up and down in that new position, then remained in place as it rotated ('twitched') the fan from side to side several times. It would then side step to a position on the other side of the female, as shown here, and repeat this sequence. Notable differences between this display and that of M. avibus  include the wide separation of legs III (brought together to frame the fan in M. avibus  ) and the use of the pedipalps by M. mungaich  .

Habitat. These spiders were found on or near the ground in a wooded area at Mt. Dale ( Figure 23 View Figure ). Many specimens have been collected in pitfall traps in old growth jarrah forest areas ( Waldock 2013).