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Holotype male: Coolah Tops National Park, off Gemini Road Loop, New South Wales, Australia, 31°48'59"S, 150°10'31"E, sifting elevated leaf litter under tree ferns, open eucalypt forest with ferny understory, 1159 m, 12-13.IV.2010, M. Rix, D. Harms (AMS KS114972).
Paratypes: Allotype female, same data as holotype (AMS KS114974); 1 female, same data as holotype (AMS KS114973DNA: Ar41-48-F); 3 females and 6 juveniles, same data as holotype (WAM T112566DNA: Ar41-113-J/Ar41-114-J).
Other material examined
AUSTRALIA: New South Wales: Coolah Tops National Park: Breeza Lookout, 31°49'08"S, 150°11'38"E, sifting elevated leaf litter under bracken ferns, open eucalypt forest with ferny understory, 1128 m, 12-13.IV.2010, M. Rix, D. Harms, 1♂ (WAM T112565DNA: Ar40-115-M); Breeza Lookout, 31°49'17"S, 150°11'28"E, pitfall trap, 7-25.XI.2001, M. Gray, G. Milledge, H. Smith, 1♂ (AMS KS75412).
The specific epithet is a patronym in honour of the late Ramon Mascord (1913–1983), for his pioneering contributions to arachnology and natural history, and for writing two of the most influential popular books on Australian spiders (see Mascord 1970, 1980).
Austrarchaea mascordi can be distinguished from all other Archaeidae from mid-eastern Australia by the relatively short, filiform tegular sclerite 1 (TS 1) (Fig. 24F) combined with the unique shape of the conductor (Figs 24D-E), which is thin and slightly twisted, with a sharply-tapered apex.
This species can also be distinguished from other genotyped taxa from mid-eastern Australia (see Fig. 3B) by the following six unique nucleotide substitutions for COI and COII (n = 4): C(348), G(468), C(651), C(957), A(967), G(1364).
Holotype male: Total length 2.83; leg I femur 2.67; F1/CL ratio 2.45. Cephalothorax dark reddish-brown; legs tan-brown with darker annulations; abdomen mottled grey-brown and beige, with darker reddish-brown dorsal scute and sclerites (Fig. 24B). Carapace tall (CH/CL ratio 2.14); 1.09 long, 2.33 high, 1.02 wide; ‘neck’ 0.54 wide; bearing two pairs of rudimentary horns; highest point of pars cephalica (HPC) approaching posterior third of ‘head’ (ratio of HPC to post-ocular length 0.62), carapace gently sloping posterior to HPC; ‘head’ not strongly elevated dorsally (post-ocular ratio 0.28) (Fig. 9F). Chelicerae with brush of accessory setae on anterior face of paturon (Fig. 24C). Abdomen 1.44 long, 1.08 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 24D-F) with thin, sharply-tapered, slightly twisted conductor; tegular sclerite 1 (TS 1) filiform, obscured by conductor in retrolateral view; TS 2 spur-like, longer than TS 1; TS 2a sinuous, filiform, exposed distally; TS 3 embedded proximally within distal haematodocha, with arched dorsal margin and sharply-pointed apex projecting ventrally beyond retro-distal rim of tegulum.
Allotype female: Total length 3.28; leg I femur 2.87; F1/CL ratio 2.29. Cephalothorax dark reddish-brown; legs tan-brown with darker annulations; abdomen mottled grey-brown and beige (Fig. 24A). Carapace tall (CH/CL ratio 2.11); 1.26 long, 2.65 high, 1.13 wide; ‘neck’ 0.62 wide; bearing two pairs of rudimentary horns; highest point of pars cephalica (HPC) near middle of ‘head’ (ratio of HPC to post-ocular length 0.60), carapace gently sloping posterior to HPC; ‘head’ not strongly elevated dorsally (post-ocular ratio 0.26) (Fig. 7M). Chelicerae without accessory setae on anterior face of paturon. Abdomen 1.90 long, 1.54 wide; with three pairs of dorsal hump-like tubercles (HT 1–6). Internal genitalia with cluster of ≤ 10 variably shaped spermathecae on either side of gonopore, clusters meeting near midline of genital plate (Fig. 21G); innermost (anterior) spermathecae longest, bilobed, curved antero-laterally; other spermathecae variably pyriform, mostly straight, directed antero-laterally.
Variation: Males (n=3): total length 2.83–2.92; carapace length 1.09–1.10; carapace height 2.33–2.37; CH/CL ratio 2.14–2.17. Females (n=5): total length 2.97–3.49; carapace length 1.21–1.26; carapace height 2.49–2.65; CH/CL ratio 2.05–2.11.
Distribution and habitat
Austrarchaea mascordi is known only from snow gum and wet eucalypt forest habitats in the Coolah Tops National Park, west of Scone, New South Wales (Fig. 42).
This species is a short-range endemic taxon (Harvey 2002b), which although restricted in distribution, is abundant within the eastern Coolah 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
- Mascord R (1970) Australian Spiders in Colour. Reed Books, Sydney, 112 pp.
- 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