Saturday, December 16, 2017

[Arachnida • 2017] Daddy-long-leg Giants: Revision of the Spider Genus Artema Walckenaer, 1837 (Araneae, Pholcidae)

Artema nephilit 
Aharon, Huber & Gavish-Regev, 2017


This is the first revision of Artema Walckenaer, 1837, a genus consisting of large and phylogenetically interesting species. Even though Artema is not species-rich (now eight nominal species), it has suffered from poor descriptions and synonymies. Our main goal was to gather all available material and to clarify species limits. Four species are easily distinguished from other congeners: Artema atlanta Walckenaer, 1837, the type species; A. kochi Kulczyński, 1901 (revalidated); A. bunkpurugu Huber & Kwapong, 2013; and A. nephilit sp. nov. All other species are problematic for varying reasons: species limits are unclear between A. doriae Thorell, 1881 and A. transcaspica Spassky, 1934; A. magna Roewer, 1960 and A. ziaretana (Roewer, 1960) are problematic because they are based on female and juvenile types respectively and little new material is available. The material available to us suggests the existence of a few further species; however, they are not formally described, either because of small sample sizes (Artema sp. a and A. sp. b are represented by only one specimen each) or because of unclear species limits (between Artema sp. c, A. transcaspica and A. doriae).This study is the first serious step towards understanding the genus. Intensive collecting effort is needed in order to fully clarify species limits.

Keywords: key; Middle East; Pholcidae; taxonomy

Figs 3–8. Live specimens and habitats.
  3. Artema atlanta Walckenaer, 1837 from Thailand, Ratchaburi.
 45. A. nephilit sp. nov. from Israel. 6. Typical Artema web mass, in a cave in Petra, Jordan. 78. Caves populated by Artema nephilit sp. nov.: Oren Cave, Mount Karmel (7) and caves in the Eilat Mountains (8), Israel.

 Photos: B. A. Huber (3–4, 6–8), S. Aharon (5). 

Class Arachnida Cuvier, 1812
Order Araneae Clerck, 1757

Family Pholcidae C.L. Koch, 1851

Artema Walckenaer, 1837

Artema Walckenaer, 1837: 656; 
type species: Artema atlanta (by subsequent monotypy).

Coroia González-Sponga, 2005: 102; 
type species: Coroia magna González-Sponga, 2005; synonymized by Huber et al. 2014: 416.

Diagnosis: Artema is easily distinguished from other pholcids by its large body and strong legs (body length 5.5– 9.5 mm; leg span up to 15 cm; tibia 1 L/d: 34–42); also by distinctive pattern on globose and high abdomen (dark dots dorsally, arranged in stripes from dorsal to lateral, sometimes absent; Figs 3–5, 51– 53); by male pedipalp with its unique bulbal processes and short but massive procursus with proximal dorsal process (dp: Fig. 89) and weakly developed ventral pocket (vp: Fig. 89); by armature of male chelicerae (frontal row of cone-shaped hairs on each side, situated on elevated processes or ridges; Figs 23, 44); and by pair of low to high projections in front of large anterior epigynal plate (AEP: Fig. 15).

Artema atlanta Walckenaer, 1837

Artema doriae Thorell, 1881

Etymology: Even though the species was named for a man (Marchese Giacomo Doria, 1840–1913), the ICZN (1999: article 31.1) clearly states that the correct patronym has to be doriae, not doriai. The latter is thus an unjustified emendation.

Artema transcaspica Spassky, 1934

Artema magna Roewer, 1960

Artema kochi Kulczyński, 1901 (revalidated) 

Artema nephilit sp. nov.
Artema mauriciana” (misidentification) – Bodenheimer 1937: 238 (“Palestina”)
Artema mauricia” (misidentification) – Dalmas 1920: 59 (Bodrum, Turkey). 

Diagnosis: Males can be distinguished from all known congeners by their bulbal processes: process c (Fig. 40) projecting prolaterally, processes d and e absent (Fig. 39) (A. magna: process c robust, strongly curved prolaterally, process d distinct rounded projection on ventral side of bulb – see Figs 159–160; A. doriae and A. transcaspica: process d small, pointed towards ventrodistally) and by unique median projection on each male cheliceral process (Figs 43–44, 67) (only A. magna with similar median projection but no modified hairs connect to main ridge as in A. nephilit sp. nov. – see Figs 163–164). Females with semicircular epigynum (Figs 45–50); differing from A. atlanta by straight posterior epigynal margin; from A. magna by epigynal plate length to width ratio; from A. bunkpurugu by much less prominent anterior epigynal projections (AEP in Fig. 48) (cf. Huber & Kwapong 2013: figs 49, 53–54). 

Etymology: The species epithet is derived from the feminine singular noun of the biblical name “Nephilim”, the giants who were seen by the twelve people sent by Moses to scout the Land of Canaan. It refers to the large size of the spider. Noun in apposition.

Shlomi Aharon, Bernhard A. Huber and Efrat Gavish-Regev. 2017. Daddy-long-leg Giants: Revision of the Spider Genus Artema Walckenaer, 1837 (Araneae, Pholcidae). European Journal of Taxonomy. 376: 1–57. DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2017.376


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