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Archaea gracilicollis Millot, 1948
The name refers to the Madagascan distribution and is feminine in gender.
Distinguished from all other archaeids by the presence of six protrusions, each with a small spine, on the crown of the cephalon, and by the presence of a retrolateral apophysis on the male pedipalpal patella.
See Wood (2008) for a complete description.
14 described species M. ambre (Wood, 2008), M. anabohazo (Wood, 2008), M. borimontsina (Wood, 2008), M. gracilicollis (Millot, 1948), M. griswoldi (Wood, 2008), M. halambohitra (Wood, 2008), M. jeanneli (Millot, 1948), M. lavatenda (Wood, 2008), M. legendrei (Platnick, 1991), M. namoroka (Wood, 2008), M. spiceri (Wood, 2008), M. tsingyensis (Lotz, 2003), M. vadoni (Millot, 1948), M. voronakely (Wood, 2008), and 4 new species described here: Madagascarchaea fohy sp. n., Madagascarchaea lotzi sp. n., Madagascarchaea moramora sp. n., Madagascarchaea rabesahala sp. n
We elevate the “gracilicollis group” (Wood 2008) to genus level based on phylogenetic analysis that strongly supports two monophyletic clades, Eriauchenius and Madagascarchaea gen. n., that have diversified on Madagascar (Fig. 1) (Wood et al. 2015; Wood et al. 2012). These two genera are not sister clades, but instead Afrarchaea is sister to Eriauchenius in Wood et al (2015), and Afrarchaea is sister to Madagascarchaea gen. n. in Wood et al (2012). Eriauchenius and Afrarchaea are never recovered as sister clades.
Madagascarchaea gen. n. contains two main clades, the “vadoni group” and the “jeanneli group” (Fig. 1). The “vadoni group” contains M. borimontsina, M. legendrei, M. vadoni, M. fohy sp. n., and M. rabesahala sp. n., and these species share the following traits: a retrolateral apophysis on the male pedipalpal femur (compare fig. 12A with fig. 12B in Wood 2008) and a highly reduced FSGP that lacks “wings” (Figs 23B, 24B, 25B). The female genitalia of “vadoni group” species do not have interspecific variation. Instead, somatic traits are more useful for identifying “vadoni group” species. We split what was previously considered M. legendrei into two species: M. legendrei and M. rabesahala sp. n. For clarity, we describe both M. legendrei and M. rabesahala sp. n. here. In addition, there is a single female specimen (CASENT9046596), denoted as “Madagascarchaea sp. 1” in Fig. 1 that may be a new species, however, since this is the only known specimen and females are difficult to diagnose, we chose not to describe it (collection information: Madagascar, Fianarantsoa, Réserve Forestiére d’Agnalazaha, Mahabo, 42.9 km 215° SW Farafangana, 23°11'38"S, 47°43'23"E, 20 m, 19 Apr 2006, littoral rainforest, maxi winkler litter extraction, B.L. Fisher et al.).
M. jeanneli, M. ambre, M. lotzi sp. n., and M. moramora sp. n. belong to the “jeanneli group” and are part of a species complex distinguished from other Madagascarchaea by having an elongated and pointy head (Figs 26A, 27A, 28A), a triangular abdomen that is either straight across the posterior (Fig. 28A) or invaginated (Figs 26A, 27A), and a conductor that is a large triangular piece in the prolateral view (Figs 26D, 27D). The current study splits the M. jeanneli of Wood (2008) into several different species: M. jeanneli, M. lotzi sp. n., and M. moramora sp. n. For clarity, we also redescribe M. jeanneli here. M. ambre, is considered a part of the “jeanneli-complex” but is not redescribed here, see Wood (2008) for a complete description. These four species form a monophyletic group (Fig. 1), although M. jeanneli is not included in the phylogeny. Females cannot be distinguished. For the males, embolus shape is the main morphological difference among species.
Madagascarchaea gen. n.: to supplement “Gracilicollis group” key
When using the identification key from Wood (2008), if a specimen is identified as either M. jeanneli or M. ambre, then use the following key to separate M. jeanneli, M. ambre, M. lotzi sp. n., and M. moramora sp. n.; females of these four species are indistinguishable:When using the identification key from Wood (2008), if a specimen is identified as M. legendrei, then use the following key to separate species of M. legendrei, M. fohy sp. n., and M. rabesahala sp. n.:
- Wood, H; Scharff, N; 2017: A review of the Madagascan pelican spiders of the genera Eriauchenius O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1881 and Madagascarchaea gen. n. (Araneae, Archaeidae) ZooKeys, (727): 1-96. doi
- Wood H (2008) A revision of the assassin spiders of the Eriauchenius gracilicollis group, a clade of spiders endemic to Madagascar (Araneae : Archaeidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 152: 255–296. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2007.00359.x
- Wood H, Gillespie R, Griswold C, Wainwright P (2015) Why is Madagascar special? The extraordinarily slow evolution of pelican spiders (Araneae, Archaeidae). Evolution 69: 462–481. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.12578
- Wood H, Griswold C, Gillespie R (2012) Phylogenetic placement of pelican spiders (Archaeidae, Araneae), with insight into evolution of the “neck” and predatory behaviours of the superfamily Palpimanoidea. Cladistics 28: 598–626. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-0031.2012.00411.x