Poltys grayi, Smith, 2006
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Poltys grayi n.sp.
Figs 5–6, 15, 164, 167–168, 172, 175, 178–179, 189–192, 203–207, 211–213, 217, 222.
Etymology. This species is named in honour of Dr Mike Gray, who first collected this species.
Type material. AUSTRALIA: NEW SOUTH WALES: LORD HOWE ISLAND: HOLOTYPE ♀ KS71139, between War Memorial and Lord Howe Island Board , 31°31'53"S 159°04'02"E, 15 Dec. 2000, HMS, in web feeding on one moth, second wrapped at side of web, night GoogleMaps . PARATYPES Ƌ KS71127, track to start of Gower Walk, 31°33'54"S 159°04'29"E, 10 Dec. 2000, HMS, night coll.; Ƌ KS71130, jnct of tracks on Smoking Tree Ridge , 31°33'20"S 159°05'09"E, 3 Dec. 2000, HMS & C. Reid, beating dead twigs GoogleMaps ; ♀ KS70616, track to start of Mt Gower walk, S end Salmon Beach , 31°33'50"S 159°04'30"E, 1 Mar. 2001, G. Milledge, night coll.; Ƌ GoogleMaps ♀ KS70351, Middle Beach Rd–Anderson Rd track, 31°31'36"S 159°04'08"E, 8 Dec. 2000, HMS, Ƌ on edge of GoogleMaps ♀ web, night coll; Ƌ ♀ KS70352, start of Transit Hill track opp. Board yard, 31°31'48"S 159°04'05"E, 6 Dec. 2000, HMS, at night, courting GoogleMaps .
Other material. AUSTRALIA: NEW SOUTH WALES: LORD HOWE ISLAND: Ƌ KS71140, ♀♀ KS71136, KS71138, KS70347, Bowker Ave, 31°31'47"S 159°04'08"E, 9 & 14 Dec. 2000; ♀ GoogleMaps KS70344, Capella South ,
31°33'13"S 159°04'50"E, 11 Dec. 2000; Ƌ KS71132, Gower–Lidgbird Ridge GoogleMaps , 31°34'49"S 159°04'58"E, 12 Dec. 2000; Ƌ KS71134, ♀ KS90967, start of Gower walk GoogleMaps , 31°33'54"S 159°04'29"E, 10 Dec. 2000; ♀♀ KS71137, KS70340, KS70343, KS90953, KS90955, KS90968, sites along Lagoon Rd GoogleMaps , 31°31'S 159°04'E, 6–15 Dec. 2000 ( KS90968 and KS90953 laid eggsacs “A” and “B” in Smith 2003, respectively); Ƌ KS71131, opposite LHI Board office GoogleMaps , 31°31'49"S 159°04'05"E, 4 Dec. 2000; ƋƋ KS71126, KS71133, Max Nichols Memorial Boardwalk GoogleMaps , 31°31'3"S 159°03'35"E, 11 Dec. 2000; Ƌ ♀ KS70350, Middle Beach Rd GoogleMaps , 31°31'40"S 159°04'07"E, 24 Nov. 2000; ♀ KS70341, Middle Beach Rd–Anderson Rd track GoogleMaps , 31°31'36"S 159°04'08"E, 8 Dec. 2000; ♀ KS90954, Palm Nursery GoogleMaps , 31°31'S 159°03'E, Feb. 2001; Ƌ KS33924, trail on N face of North Hummock GoogleMaps , 31°32'48"S 159°04'54"E, 6 Feb. 1971; ♀♀ KS70348 (2), KS71135, Research Centre GoogleMaps , 31°31'37"S 159°03'58"E, 24 Nov. 2000; ♀ KS70342, Ƌ KS71129, Smoking Tree Ridge GoogleMaps , 31°33'17"S 159°05'09"E, 3 & 10 Dec. 2000; ♀♀ KS70346, KS70349, KS70345, Steven’s Reserve GoogleMaps , 31°31'34"S 159°03'49"E, 5 & 15 Dec. 2000; ƋƋ KS71128, KS71141, Transit Hill GoogleMaps , 31°32'09"S 159°04'43"E, 8 Dec. 2000; ♀ KS71142, Windy Point GoogleMaps , 31°32'05"S 159°04'08"E, 14 Dec. 2000.
Diagnosis. Use P. laciniosus -group diagnosis to separate specimens from other species groups. Females. From P. laciniosus by long V-shaped epigyne with distinctly separate foveae ( Fig. 190), and pale carapace without projections above PME ( Figs 172, 175). From P. noblei by epigyne margins parallel at base before converging and tip usually more rounded ( Figs 190, 192). Males. Conductor not as strongly twisted as P. laciniosus ( Fig. 212); embolus shorter than P. laciniosus but terminal flange absent or small cf. P. noblei ( Figs 212, 222).
Description. Female. Carapace length range 3.27–4.29. Drawn specimens Figures: 164, 172, 175, KS70346; 167– 168, KS71138; 178–179, 189–191, KS71139 (holotype). 192, KS70341. General characters see P. laciniosus .
Holotype. Prosoma. Carapace: length, 3.92, width 3.06, height 1.14; relatively wide but tall; eye tubercle well developed, slender basally, slightly enlarged anteriorly, slightly elevated ( Figs 172, 175). Chelicerae: paturon with 3 promarginal teeth. Labium: length 0.45, width 0.75. Sternum: length 1.71, width 1.63; well formed sternal extensions at bases of legs III–IV, also a slight point at II. Eyes. ( Fig. 175). PME≥AME> ALE =PLE; ALE c. 0.3× its own diameter from AME; ventral margin of ALE is just ventral of mid point of AME. Legs. ( Fig. 164). P+TL I: 5.67, II: 5.42, III: 3.25, IV: 4.08; front femora distinctly broadened with greatest diameter c. 3 ⁄ 5 way to apex leg I, or
½ way leg II. Abdomen. ( Figs 5, 178–179). Length 7.58 (not including humeral tubercles), width 7.08; broadest at humeral tubercles; some “microsigillae” visible but not strongly developed. Epigyne. Tongue-like, widest point at base, sides more or less parallel before converging to a bluntly rounded tip ( Fig. 189); distal median bulge variable, but usually distinct ( Fig. 191); foveae separated by a strong median ridge, foveae broader basally than P. noblei (usually visible through lateral plates) in posterior view ( Figs 190, 192); lateral plates curve ventrally either side of basal median plate, forming tubes into the copulatory ducts; ducts pass anteromedially between spermathecae then turn outwards to enter dorsomedially; ducts broadly separated along whole width; spermathecae separated by about 1.5× a spermatheca width. Colour in alcohol. Carapace pale creamy-yellow, caput fuscous laterally and with darker patches anteriorly, yellow patch on dorsal caput and eye tubercle, dark brown around main eyes. Chelicerae brown, orange on cheliceral boss and distal inner faces. Labium, maxillae and sternum orange-tan. Pedipalps creamy-yellow, sparsely mottled with brown. Femora I and II pale basally then with two brown bands almost surrounding yellow band ( Fig. 164); femur III pale mottled to darker distally; femur IV dark to paler in distal third; distal legs mottled with yellow and brown, distinct dark bands on distal metatarsi and tarsi of I and II. Abdomen ventrally dark grey around pedicel and posteriorly to spinnerets except paler book lung covers, laterally and anteriorly with band of cream; dorsally overall white, with black and grey markings.
Male. Carapace length range 0.90–1.22. Drawn specimens Figures: 203–204, 207, KS71134; 205–206, KS71140. 211– 213, KS71127. General characters see P. laciniosus .
Male KS71127. Prosoma. ( Figs 205–206). Carapace: length 1.00, width 0.78, height 0.37; eye tubercle well defined with distinct dip between caput and eye tubercle in lateral view. Labium: length 0.11, width 0.19. Sternum: length 0.45, width 0.46. Eyes. ( Figs 205). AME>PME> PLE> ALE ; ALE almost touching AME; height of ventral margin of ALE is at mid point of AME. Legs. P+TL I: 1.22, II: 1.12, III: 0.61, IV: 0.78. Abdomen. Length 1.31, width 0.88; a tall ellipsoid, rounded apex, widest at midheight; main two pairs of apodemes well developed for a male. Palpal organ. ( Figs 211–213, 222). Radix–stipes joint retrobasal, obscures margin of retrobasal subtegulum, sclerites not hidden by cymbium ( Figs 212, 213); no TA; distal embolus wire-like, grooved and curving towards tip of MA, ending in a small barb ( Figs 212, 222); PM a sculptured curving structure looking like a clenched fist, extending ventrally almost to edge of tegulum, heavily sclerotized; conductor thumb-like, with only slight angle towards prolateral ( Figs 211–212). Colour in alcohol. Lateral carapace light olive, caput darker, both with black median markings and fuscous margin; eye tubercle orange; dark brown round AME. Chelicerae, labium and maxillae olive: chelicerae, paler basally and distally. Sternum yellowbrown with fuscous edges. Femora fuscous olive-black, pale basally; femur III with darker partial banding; patella to upper metatarsus of all legs dark orange-olive dorsally, darker or blackened ventrally, dark banding on distal metatarsi and tarsi. Palpal cymbium and tibia dark olive, cymbium black distally, patella and femur creamy-white marked with black. Abdominal book lung covers pale, darker towards spinnerets; surrounding ventral areas black with orange maculation in area anterior to pedicel; dorsum with vague olive– brown and black pattern on a lighter ground.
Remarks. The only previous records of a Poltys species from Lord Howe Island were by Rainbow (1920) who described Poltys penicillatus and Gray (1974) who collected a male and ascribed it to Rainbow’s species. Rainbow’s description was based on a female specimen collected by A.M. Lea on an expedition to Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. This specimen actually represents P. illepidus , which is recorded from Norfolk Island, but has not since been found on Lord Howe. Gray’s male specimen is the first record of the new species described here.
Variation. Whilst some female specimens of P. grayi are similarly coloured to typical P. noblei , many are almost totally lacking carapace pigmentation and also have extremely pale abdominal camouflage and reduced dark areas on legs ( Fig. 164). The variation in somatic characters is similar to other species in the group. The epigyne varies in shape, especially the acuteness of the point ( Figs 190, 192). The flange on the tip of the male embolus is also variable and in some specimens is large enough to reflect light in the same way as P. noblei .
Biology. The biology of P.grayi is similar to that of P.laciniosus and P. noblei , the spider making a fine web at night and mimicking part of a dead twig during the day ( Figs 5 (holotype), 6). Egg sacs are of white silk with an overlay of brown, usually finished off with a dark brown bobble of silk ( Fig. 15), and are laid along the underside of a twig as in P. laciniosus .
Distribution. Only recorded from Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea ( Fig. 217).
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