Poltys laciniosus Keyserling

Smith, H. M., 2006, A Revision of the Genus Poltys in Australasia (Araneae: Araneidae), Records of the Australian Museum 58, pp. 43-96: 76-79

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Poltys laciniosus Keyserling


Poltys laciniosus Keyserling  

Figs 10–11, 18, 22–24, 31–32, 159–163, 169–171, 174, 176–177, 182–188,

198–201, 208–210, 217, 218–219.

Poltys laciniosus Keyserling, 1886: 123   , pl. 9, fig. 7. Female holotype from Peak Downs , Queensland, Australia; in BMNH (1890/2050), examined.

Poltys mammeatus Keyserling, 1886: 125   , pl. 10, fig. 1. Female holotype from Peak Downs , Queensland, Australia; in ZMH (labelled as the type of P. laciniosus   , see remarks below), examined. New synonym.

Poltys bimaculatus Keyserling, 1886: 131   , pl. 10, fig. 4. Juvenile holotype from Peak Downs , Queensland, Australia; in ZMH, examined. New synonym.

Poltys salebrosus Rainbow, 1904: 104   , fig. 28–29. Juvenile holotype from Freemantle [sic], Western Australia, Australia; in AM ( KS8697). New synonym.

Remarks. Both BMNH and ZMH hold types listed as the holotype of P. laciniosus   . The BMNH specimen is a good match for the specimen illustrated by Keyserling under this name. A designated type of P. mammeatus   has not been located but the ZMH specimen matches the colour pattern of the illustration. The shape is difficult to match with certainty, as the apex of the abdomen is inclined sharply over the prosoma, and posterior tubercles are not obvious. The specimen, however, is not in good condition and the abdomen has obviously been damaged. The ZMH type, therefore, has apparently been mislabelled as P. laciniosus   and should read P. mammeatus   . The subadult types of P. bimaculatus   and P. salebrosus   are both from areas where no other Poltys species   have been recorded and have features typical of P. laciniosus   .

Selected other material examined. AUSTRALIA: NEW SOUTH WALES: Ƌ KS84599, 60 km W of Cobar , 31°33'04"S 145°12'56"E, 26 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS84600, 62 km W of Nyngan , 31°33'31"S 146°32'49"E, 26 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS70366, The Battery rest area, 32°12'S 150°28'E, 29 Oct. 2000 GoogleMaps   ; KS78296, Cocoparra NP, 34°04'46"S 146°13'23"E, 15 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; ƋƋ KS78293–94, Conimbla NP, 33°47'47"S 148°26'53"E, 14 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; KS33847, Euchora, Springwood, 33°42'S 150°34'E GoogleMaps   ; KS33845, Gara Station, via Armidale, 31°36'S 148°54'E; Ƌ KS72253, Gilwarny Forest Rd, 30°25'20"S 147°53'57"E, 15 Dec. 1999 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS74967   , KS75494, Pilliga Forest Way, 30°31'11"S 149°37'25"E, 13 Nov. 2001 GoogleMaps   ; KS58687, Royal National Park , 34°08'S 151°04'E, 29 Oct. 1998 GoogleMaps   ; ♀ Ƌ KS74960–61, Warrumbungle NP, 31°18'S 149°00'E, 9 Nov. 2001 GoogleMaps   . NORTHERN TERRITORY:? ♀ KS55745, Gregory NP, Victoria H'way, 15°31'04"S 131°18'23"E, 25 May 1999 GoogleMaps   . QUEENSLAND: ƋƋ KS5806, Blackwood NP, 21°28'41"S 146°43'33"E, 11 May 2000 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS58043   , KS84601, Clermont, 22°48'25"S 147°38'22"E, 9 May 2000 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS58060   , KS58059, Isla Gorge, campsite area, 25°11'32"S 149°58'25"E, 7 May 2000 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS58051   , ♀♀ KS58050 (3), Peak Range NP via ' Limestone', 22°45'26"S 148°08'03E, 10 May 2000 GoogleMaps   ; ƋƋ KS5804   , KS58042, Taunton NP, 23°29'33"S 149°16'39"E, 9 May 2000 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS58056, Theodore, 24°56'41"S 150°04'24"E, 10 May 2000 GoogleMaps   ; ♀ ( MMUS) Duaringa, 23°41'S 149°40'E GoogleMaps   ; ♀ ( MMUS), Innot Hot Springs, 17°40'S 145°14'E GoogleMaps   ; S42616 View Materials , Altonvale Station , 28°01'S 149°15'E, 10 Jan. 1979 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ S42558 View Materials , Blackdown Tableland , 23°47'S 149°04'E, 6 Feb. 1981 GoogleMaps   ; ♀♀ S42501 View Materials , Camel Creek , 18°50'S 145°28'E, 5 Dec.1955 GoogleMaps   ; ♀♀ ex S42608 View Materials – 09, Camira , 27°38'S 152°55'E, 23 Nov. 1986 GoogleMaps   ; S42500 View Materials , Crows Nest , 27°16'S 152°03'E, 27 Jan. 1973 GoogleMaps   ; S42612 View Materials , Dulacca , 26°38'S 149°48'E, 1 May 1928 GoogleMaps   ; S42551 View Materials , Eidsvold , 25°22'S 151°07'E, Feb. 1915 GoogleMaps   ; S42591 View Materials , Goondiwindi , 28°32'S 150°18'E, Jan. 1951 GoogleMaps   ; S42560 View Materials , Mt Moffat NP, 24°53'S 147°57'E, 15 Dec. 1987 GoogleMaps   ; ♀ W1444, Purga, 27°41'S 152°42'E, 15 Dec. 1941; ♀ W1503, Rockhampton, 23°22'S 150°30'E, 26 Jun. 1942; ♀ W434, Toogoolawah, 27°05'S 152°22'E; S42550 View Materials , Yandaburra , 24°13'S 148°00'E, 16 May 1976 GoogleMaps   . SOUTH AUSTRALIA: KS78314, Arden Vale Rd , 5.1 km from Quorn, 32°18'08"S 138°00'49"E, 24 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS84596, Cocata Conservation Reserve , 33°17'28"S 135°18'59"E, 22 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; KS78310, nr Coffin Bay NP, 34°37'26"S 135°27'04"E, 22 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS78309   , KS85050, Lake Gilles NP, 33°01'56"S 136°47'45"E, 21 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS84598   , KS78313, Lincoln H'way, 41 km N of Cowell , 33°21'28"S 137°03'58"E, 24 Mar.2002 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS84597   , ♀♀ KS78311, Lincoln NP, 34°47'11"S 135°55'04"E, 23 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; KS78304, Millbrook Reservoir, 34°50'S 138°49'E, 19 Mar.2002 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS91165, raised from female KS78304, Millbrook Reservoir, matured 30 Nov. 2002   ; KS78307, Mt Remarkable NP, 32°50'45"S 138°01'41"E, 20 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; ♀ Ƌ KS78301– 02, Ngarkat Conservation Park, 35°38'17"S 140°46'50"E, 17 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS84593, Scorpion Springs CP, 35°25'10"S 140°53'20"E, 17 Mar. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; ♀ NN12173, Billiatt CP, 34°59'23"S 140°28'24"E, 19 Nov. 1996; ♀ NN12178, Calpatanna Waterhole CP, 33°00'S 134°21'E, 27 11 1995; ♀ N1998771, Gawler Ranges, 32°22'S 135°34'E, Sep. 1972; ♀ N1998778, 13 km N Keilira Station , 36°37'S 140°10'E, 22 Mar.1992 GoogleMaps   ; ♀♀ (4) ( SAMA   ), Munyaroo CP, 13.7 km SE Moonabbie , 33°21'34"S 137°21'03"E, 30 Sep. 2002 GoogleMaps   ; ♀ NN12166, Murvio Homestead, 36°12'41"S 140°07'46"E, 3 Oct. 2000; ♀ NN12176, Pinkawillinie CP, 33°03'S 135°50'E, 23 Nov. 1995; ♀ N1998775, Tailem Bend, 35°15'S 139°28'E, Mar. 1947; ♀ N1998776, 4 miles E Wellington, 35°18'S 139°27'E, 13Aug. 1994. VICTORIA: Juvenile ♀, Boinka Flora Reserve , 35°11'46"S 141°36'39"E, Oct. 1999 (probably this species, close to recorded distribution in SA) GoogleMaps   . WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Ƌ KS59255, Eucla roadhouse, 31°41'S 128°52'E, 7 Oct. 1999 GoogleMaps   ; Ƌ KS59256, Pemberton, 34°27'S 116°02'E, 10 Oct. 1999 GoogleMaps   ;? ♀ WA98/1957, Beta Ck, 14°16'S 127°19'E, 20 Sep. 1996; ♀ WA98/1959, Gnowangerup, 33°56'S 118°00'E, 15 Nov. 1965; ♀ WA98/1960, Grasspatch, 33°14'S 121°43'E, 24 Dec.1988; ♀ WA36/68, Lowden, 33°32'S 115°58'E, 10 Jan.1936; ♀ WA39/ 2340, Maddington, 32°03'S 115°59'E, 27 Sep. 1939; ♀ WA98/1966, South Yardie Well , Cape Range, 22°25'S 113°46'E, 24 May 1995 GoogleMaps   ; ♀ WA98/1970, Torndirrup NP, 35°05'S 117°55'E, 25 Apr. 1990; ♀ WA27/305, Wooroloo, 31°48'S 116°19'E, Mar. 1927.

Reared specimens deposited in Australian museums: ex female KS78304:Ƌ ♀ to NTM, Ƌ to QM S66577 View Materials , Ƌ to SAMA NN   21924, Ƌ to WAM T63010 View Materials ; ex female KS78313: Ƌ to NMV K8898 View Materials , ♀ to NMV K8899 View Materials , Ƌ to SAMA NN   21925   .

Diagnosis. Females. From other species groups: epigyne as long or longer than wide, widest at base ( Fig. 182); prolateral cheliceral teeth usually LLs (i.e. missing one small tooth, Fig. 163); carapace profile relatively high ( Fig. 162); well defined eye tubercle ( Fig. 159); front femora with distinct broadening. From P. noblei   and P. grayi   : carapace dark ( Fig. 159), broadly blunt tip to epigyne and (except Kimberley and Northern Territory specimens) almost total reduction of the posterior median plate distal to the base ( Figs 182–185). Males. From other species groups by the male palp: the embolus arises prolaterally without a terminal apophysis ( Figs 210, 218). From P. noblei   and P. grayi   by longer embolus without a terminal flange ( Fig. 209); conductor tip angled strongly towards prolateral ( Figs 209, 219). Length of embolus slightly shorter in Western Australian specimens. Males are unknown from the Kimberley and Northern Territory, but the embolus length may be reduced where females have a short epigyne.

Description. Female. Carapace length range 2.82–4.49. Drawn specimens Figures: 32, KS78299; 159–161, KS78300 (male from Fig. 198); 162, 171, 174, 176–177, 182, 186, BMNH1890/2050 (holotype); 163, KS85050; 169–170, NN12173; 183, KS58050; 184–185, KS78310; 187–188, KS55745 (? P. laciniosus   ).

Holotype. Prosoma. Carapace: length, 3.80, width 2.82, height 1.18; relatively wide but tall ( Figs 171, 162); eye tubercle well developed, slender basally, slightly elevated, with well developed dorsal protrusions above PME that point anteriorly ( Figs 159, 174). Chelicerae: paturon with 3 promarginal teeth ( Fig. 163). Labium: length 0.41, width 0.78. Sternum: ( Fig. 161) length 1.59, width 1.55; sternal extensions at bases of legs III–IV. Eyes. ( Figs 162, 174). AME=PME> ALE   =PLE; ALE   <0.2× its own diameter from AME; ventral margin of ALE   is just ventral of mid point of AME. Legs. ( Fig. 159). P+TL I: 5.92, II: 5.50, III: 3.00, IV: 4.00; front femora distinctly broadened with greatest diameter c. 3 ⁄ 5 way to apex in leg I, or ½ way, leg II. Abdomen. ( Figs 176–177, also see other shapes shown for the group in Figs 159–160, 165–170 and 178–181). Length 8.70, width 4.78; broadest at humeral tubercles; some “microsigillae” visible but not strongly developed. Epigyne. Tongue-like, widest point at base; lip broad either side of tip ( Fig. 182); foveae merged almost from base into single, deep opening ( Figs 183, 186); lateral plates curve ventrally either side of slight ridge of reduced median plate, basally forming tubes that lead into copulatory ducts; ducts not examined in holotype but usually pass anterior to spermathecae then wrap around dorsally to enter dorsally or posteriorly ( Fig. 32); ducts separated along whole width; spermathecae separated by at least a single spermatheca width. Colour in alcohol. Carapace and most of caput olive-brown, anterior caput colour fades into yellow patch on dorsal eye tubercle. Chelicerae brown, paler basally and with orange on distal inner faces. Labium, maxillae and sternum orange-tan. Pedipalps yellow, mottled with brown distally. Femur I dark brown and orange with broad yellow band (dark areas with strong blue sheen on recent specimens); femur II similar but yellow band rather vague; femur III mottled to dark distally; femur IV dark to paler in distal third; distal legs mottled with yellow/orange and brown, distinct dark bands on distal metatarsi and tarsi of I and II. Abdomen generally dark grey ventrally except paler book lung covers; dorsally with grey, brown and black markings on a pale ground. Note in recent specimens the yellow/orange against black banding on the front femora can be striking and may be used to startle potential predators ( Fig. 11). The dorsal carapace and caput are usually a rich dark brown against which the white hairs on the caput stand out strongly.

Male. Carapace length range 0.78–1.31. Drawn specimens Figures: 31, KS91165; 198–201, KS58060; 208–210, KS58051.milledg

Male KS58060. Prosoma. Carapace: length 0.86, width 0.69, height 0.31; a broad pear-shape in dorsal view ( Fig. 200); height subequal at eye tubercle and fovea; eye tubercle well defined with distinct “v” between caput and eye tubercle in lateral view ( Fig. 198), less well defined in dorsal view; with strongly developed dorsal protrusions above PME, pointed anteriorly ( Figs 198, 200–201). Labium: length 0.08, width 0.18. Sternum: length 0.40, width 0.44. Eyes. ( Figs 198, 201) AME≥PME> ALE   ≥PLE; ALE   almost touching AME; ventral margin of ALE   is ventral to mid point of AME. Legs. ( Fig. 198) P+TL I: 1.08, II: 1.00, III: 0.55, IV: 0.69. Abdomen. ( Figs 198–199, also see 202). Length 1.25, width 0.98; ellipsoid, broadest at 2 ⁄ 3 height. Palpal organ. Radix–stipes joint almost basal, stipes wraps margin of retrobasal subtegulum, not hidden by cymbium ( Figs 209–210, 218); no TA; distal embolus wire-like, long, grooved and strongly arcing over apex of palp, roughly parallel to edge of cymbium, ending in a small barb ( Figs 209, 218); PM a sculptured curving structure looking like a clenched fist, extending ventrally almost to edge of tegulum, heavily sclerotized ( Figs 209, 219). Colour in alcohol. Lateral carapace pale olive, caput darker olive, both with black median markings; eye tubercle orange, with brown points to protrusions dorsal to PME; dark brown round AME. Chelicerae, labium, maxillae and sternum olive. Sternum with fuscous edges and median streak. Femora pale olive, darkening distally; distal legs mottled fuscous turning into dark banding on distal metatarsi and tarsi. Palpal cymbium olive brown with darker patches, tibia fuscous, patella fuscous dorsally, femur and ventral patella creamy-white. Abdominal book lung covers and posterior to epigastric fold pale, surrounding ventral areas olive darkening to black at spinnerets; dorsally with olive–brown and black pattern on a pale ground.

Variation. There is considerable variation in epigyne size and shape of P. laciniosus   females. Specimens from all parts of Australia and representing all extremes of epigyne shape were included in the COI DNA analysis.Although this showed some minor variations in sequences, no consistent differences were found. The partial reduction of the posterior median plate and the unusually short length of the epigynes of the two specimens from the Northern Territory and the Kimberley ( Figs 187– 188) are unique characters amongst the P.laciniosus   specimens examined. Before the results for the DNA sequence were obtained these two specimens had been assumed to be of a different species, but the sequences indicate that all the tested specimens are conspecific. It is possible that contamination has occurred (unlikely as sequencing was repeated from the original extract) or that the one short sequence examined is not useful in this case. The status of these specimens should be re-examined when males are available from the area or if further DNA studies are carried out.

As with other Poltys species   , all morphological features are quite variable in shape and colouration, especially the abdomen. Some examples (taken from different species but representative of all within the group) are shown in Figs 5– 8, 165–170 and 176–181. Male abdomens show only slight variation, some being more rounded ( Fig. 199) and others tending towards taller and narrower (example from P. noblei   , Fig. 202). There is considerable variation in male carapace shape and relative eye sizes (as illustrated in P. grayi   , Figs 203–206). The protrusions dorsal to the PME ( Figs 200– 201) are variable but usually prominent in P. laciniosus   .

Biology. Poltys laciniosus   construct a fine orb web between dead twigs at night ( Fig. 10), which is typically about 25cm in diameter for an adult female; the hub may be left entire or bitten out to varying degrees. The web is taken down towards dawn and the spiders mimic part of a dead twig during the day. Egg sacs are grey/brown silk with a sparse overlay of white, sometimes finished off with a light bobble of silk. These are made along the underside of a twig, commonly where there is some other bump or a fork to disguise the shape (2 egg sacs are on the left of Fig. 10 — arrowed). Females of this species and P. noblei   have been collected together from mud wasp nests in southeastern Queensland ( S42608 View Materials –09), but P. laciniosus   mostly seems to occur in less humid areas.

Distribution. Probably present over much of mainland Australia where tree or scrub cover is reasonably extensive. Away from centres of population, the distribution shown ( Fig. 217) mostly represents collecting trips made by museum arachnologists. Not recorded on trips through the drier interior of Australia (Broken Hill, Coober Pedy, Uluru etc.) and uncommon on the east coast where P. noblei   is dominant.


Macleay Museum, University of Sydney


Museum national d'Histoire Naturelle, Laboratiore de Paleontologie


Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences


Queensland Museum


Western Australian Museum


Museum Victoria














Poltys laciniosus Keyserling

Smith, H. M. 2006

Poltys salebrosus

Rainbow, W 1904: 104

Poltys laciniosus

Keyserling, E 1886: 123

Poltys mammeatus

Keyserling, E 1886: 125

Poltys bimaculatus

Keyserling, E 1886: 131