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The spider family Micropholcommatidae (Arachnida: Araneae: Araneoidea): a relimitation and revision at the generic level

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Author(s): Michael Rix | Mark Harvey

Journal: ZooKeys
ISSN 1313-2989

Volume: 36;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: taxonomy | new species | systematics | phylogeny | cladistics | parsimony analysis | biodiversity | endemism | biogeography | Gondwana | vicariance | caves | temperate rainforest | conservation

ABSTRACT
The araneoid spider family Micropholcommatidae Hickman, previously containing 34 southern-temperate species in eight genera, is relimited and revised at the generic level to include 18 genera from Australia, Lord Howe Island, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Chile. Three subfamilies are proposed, and a new phylogenetic hypothesis for the family is presented as a result of two morphological cladistic analyses, used to test the phylogenetic position and phylogeny of the known micropholcommatid taxa. These cladistic analyses inferred a monophyletic Micropholcommatidae, belonging to the diverse araneoid symphytognathidan lineage, with the families Anapidae, Symphytognathidae and Micropholcommatidae further united by the newly proposed 'EbCY' clade. The genus Teutoniella Brignoli, previously included in the Micropholcommatidae, was found to be most closely related to an undescribed genus from South Africa, together forming a distinctive ‘teutoniellid’ lineage within the EbCY clade. The subfamily Micropholcommatinae Hickman, new rank contains the bulk of micropholcommatid diversity, with three tribes, 15 genera and 45 described species. The micropholcommatine tribe Micropholcommatini Hickman, new rank includes the nominate genus Micropholcomma Crosby & Bishop, along with three additional genera from Australasia and Chile: Micropholcomma has eight species, including the type, M. caeligenum Crosby & Bishop, and M. junee sp. n.; Pua Forster is monotypic, with P. novaezealandiae Forster; Tricellina Forster & Platnick is also monotypic, with T. gertschi (Forster & Platnick); and Austropholcomma gen. n. has two species, including the type A. florentine sp. n., and A. walpole sp. n. The micropholcommatine tribe Textricellini Hickman, new rank is a diverse and distinctive lineage, including all species previously described in the genus Textricella Hickman, which is hereby recognised as a junior generic synonym of Eterosonycha Butler syn. n.; the 20 previously described species of Textricella are thus transferred into Eterosonycha or other newly described genera. The Textricellini includes 10 genera from Australasia and Chile: Eterosonycha has four species, including the type E. alpina Butler (=Textricella parva Hickman syn. n.), E. complexa (Forster), E. aquilina sp. n. and E. ocellata sp. n.; Epigastrina gen. n. has three species, including the type E. fulva (Hickman), E. loongana sp. n. and E. typhlops sp. n.; Guiniella gen. n. is monotypic, with G. tropica (Forster); Raveniella gen. n. has three species, including the type R. luteola (Hickman), R. hickmani (Forster) and R. peckorum sp. n.; Rayforstia gen. n. has 12 species, including the type R. vulgaris (Forster), the two new species R. lordhowensis sp. n. and R. raveni sp. n., and the nine additional species R. antipoda (Forster), R. insula (Forster), R. mcfarlanei (Forster), R. plebeia (Forster), R. propinqua (Forster), R. salmoni (Forster), R. scuta (Forster), R. signata (Forster) and R. wisei (Forster); Normplatnicka gen. n. has three species, including the type N. lamingtonensis (Forster), N. chilensis sp. n. and N. barrettae sp. n.; Eperiella gen. n. has two species, including the type E. alsophila sp. n., and E. hastings sp. n.; Algidiella gen. n. is monotypic, with A. aucklandica (Forster); Taliniella gen. n. has two species, including the type T. nigra (Forster), and T. vinki sp. n.; and Tinytrella gen. n. is monotypic, with T. pusilla (Forster). The micropholcommatine tribe Patelliellini trib. n. includes only one monotypic genus, Patelliella gen. n., represented by the enigmatic species Patelliella adusta sp. n. from Lord Howe Island. The subfamily Taphiassinae subfam. n. includes two genera of distinctive, heavily punctate Micropholcommatidae from Australasia: Taphiassa Simon has six species, including the type T. impressa Simon, T. punctata (Forster), T. castanea sp. n., T. globosa sp. n., T. magna sp. n. and T. robertsi sp. n.; the genus Parapua Forster, erected by Forster (1959) for P. punctata, is hereby recognised as a junior generic synonym of Taphiassa (syn. n.). The endemic Tasmanian genus Olgania Hickman has five species, including the type O. excavata Hickman, O. cracroft sp. n., O. eberhardi sp. n., O. troglodytes sp. n. and O. weld sp. n. The subfamily Gigiellinae subfam. n. includes only one genus from south-eastern Australia and Chile, Gigiella gen. n., described for the two species G. milledgei sp. n. and G. platnicki sp. n. The distribution, diversity and Gondwanan biogeography of the Micropholcommatidae are discussed, and natural history information is provided where known; webs and egg sacs of Taphiassinae are described for the first time. Species level monographic coverage is provided for those faunas of conservation or biogeographic significance, including the largely undescribed Western Australian fauna, the Lord Howe Island fauna, the Tasmanian cave fauna and the southern Chilean fauna, with other species of conservation or biogeographic importance also described. In total, 26 new species, 12 new genera, one new tribe and two new subfamilies are described, taking the total documented micropholcommatid fauna to 58 species.  

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