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Holotype male: Kroombit Tops National Park, creek crossing off Tablelands Road, Queensland, Australia, 24°22'40"S, 150°59'46"E, sifting elevated leaf litter, subtropical rainforest with emergent eucalypts, 799 m, 26.X.2010, M. & A. Rix (QMB S90195).
Paratypes: Allotype female, same data as holotype (QMB S90194); 1 female, same data as holotype (QMB S90196); 2 females and 3 juveniles, same data as holotype (WAM T112550DNA: KT-63-F/KT-64-J/KT-65-J); 1 male and 2 juveniles, Kroombit Tops National Park, Rainforest Walk off Tablelands Road, near Munholme Creek, Queensland, Australia, 24°24'47"S, 151°02'22"E, sifting elevated leaf litter, subtropical rainforest, 753 m, 26.X.2010, M. & A. Rix (WAM T112551DNA: KT-66-M/KT-67-J).
Additional material (not examined)
AUSTRALIA: Queensland: Kroombit Tops National Park: Lower Dry Creek, pitfall trap, rainforest, 13-18.XII.1983, G. Monteith, V. Davies, J. Gallon, G. Thompson, 1♂ (QMB S30812); Three Moon Creek, rainforest, 9-19.XII.1983, V. Davies, J. Gallon, 2♀ (QMB S30816); Beauty Spot 98, rainforest, 9-19.XII.1983, V. Davies, J. Gallon, 1♀ (QMB S30803).
The specific epithet is a patronym in honour of Alan Rix, for his great assistance in helping to collect this species, and for a lifetime of generosity and support to the senior author.
Austrarchaea alani can be distinguished from all other Archaeidae from mid-eastern Australia except Austrarchaea aleenae by the very large, porrect tegular sclerite 3 (TS 3) (Figs 18D-F); and from Austrarchaea aleenae by the short comb of accessory setae on the male chelicerae (Fig. 18C).
This species can also be distinguished from other genotyped taxa from mid-eastern Australia (see Fig. 3B) by the following three unique nucleotide substitutions for COI and COII (n = 5): T(684), A(1218), C(1347).
Holotype male: Total length 2.69; leg I femur 2.83; F1/CL ratio 2.68. Cephalothorax reddish-brown; legs tan-brown with darker annulations; abdomen mottled grey-brown and beige, with darker reddish-brown dorsal scute and sclerites (Fig. 18B). Carapace very tall (CH/CL ratio 2.28); 1.06 long, 2.41 high, 0.97 wide; ‘neck’ 0.49 wide; bearing two pairs of rudimentary horns; highest point of pars cephalica (HPC) near posterior margin of ‘head’ (ratio of HPC to post-ocular length 0.85), carapace gently sloping anterior to HPC; ‘head’ moderately elevated postero-dorsally (post-ocular ratio 0.35) (Fig. 8A). Chelicerae with short comb of accessory setae on anterior face of paturon (Fig. 18C). Abdomen 1.38 long, 0.92 wide; with three pairs of dorsal hump-like tubercles (HT 1–6); dorsal scute fused anteriorly to epigastric sclerites, extending posteriorly to first pair of hump-like tubercles; HT 3–6 each covered by separate dorsal sclerites. Unexpanded pedipalp (Figs 18D-F) with broad, obliquely-angled foliate conductor; tegular sclerite 1 (TS 1) relatively short, almost triangular, obscured by conductor in retrolateral view; TS 2 thin, spiniform, longer than TS 1; TS 2a sinuous, largely obscured by TS 2; TS 3 very large, porrect, with broadly-pointed rectangular apex projecting well beyond retro-distal rim of tegulum.
Allotype female: Total length 3.41; leg I femur 3.06; F1/CL ratio 2.66. Cephalothorax dark reddish-brown; legs tan-brown with darker annulations; abdomen mottled grey-brown and beige (Fig. 18A). Carapace very tall (CH/CL ratio 2.30); 1.15 long, 2.65 high, 1.04 wide; ‘neck’ 0.56 wide; bearing two pairs of rudimentary horns; highest point of pars cephalica (HPC) near posterior margin of ‘head’ (ratio of HPC to post-ocular length 0.81), carapace sloping gently anterior to HPC; ‘head’ strongly elevated postero-dorsally (post-ocular ratio 0.38) (Fig. 7A). Chelicerae without accessory setae on anterior face of paturon. Abdomen 1.97 long, 1.38 wide; with three pairs of dorsal hump-like tubercles (HT 1–6). Internal genitalia with dense cluster of ≤ 15 variably shaped spermathecae on either side of gonopore, clusters meeting near midline of genital plate (Fig. 18G); innermost (anterior) spermathecae longest, sausage-shaped, curved antero-laterally; outermost (posterior) spermathecae bulbous; other spermathecae variably pyriform, straight, directed antero-laterally.
Variation: Males (n=2): total length 2.26–2.69; carapace length 1.03–1.06; carapace height 2.33–2.41; CH/CL ratio 2.28 (invariable). Females (n=4): total length 3.18–3.44; carapace length 1.15–1.18; carapace height 2.58–2.82; CH/CL ratio 2.23–2.39.
Distribution and habitat. Austrarchaea alani is known only from rainforest habitats in the Kroombit Tops National Park of south-eastern Queensland (Fig. 36).
Conservation status. This species appears to be a short-range endemic taxon (Harvey 2002b), which although potentially restricted in distribution, is abundant within the Kroombit Tops National Park (M. Rix, pers. obs.). It is not considered to be of conservation concern.
- Rix, M; Harvey, M; 2011: Australian Assassins, Part I: A review of the Assassin Spiders (Araneae, Archaeidae) of mid-eastern Australia ZooKeys, 123: 1-100. doi
- Harvey M (2002b) Short-range endemism among the Australian fauna: some examples from non-marine environments. Invertebrate Systematics 16: 555-570. doi:10.1071/IS02009