New Caledonia has an endemic opiliofauna with two named species of Triaenonychidae, 17 Troglosironidae and eight Zalmoxidae. The recent finding of Neopilionidae on Grande Terre was thus surprising, and required the formal description of a new genus, which we undertake here. Martensopsalis gen. nov. is characterized by a small unsclerotized body with a unique palp with a pointed basal apophysis on the ventral side of the femur and with a distal apophysis on the prolateral side of the patella. The distinct external morphology, simple penis and unique phylogenetic position justify the erection of the new genus with Martensopsalis dogny spec. nov. as its type species. In addition to the type locality we report several other localities of putative congeneric, yet undescribed species.
Keywords: Opiliones, Gondwana, harvestmen, taxonomy, Zealandia
Neopilionidae Lawrence, 1931
Martensopsalis Giribet & Baker gen. nov.
Diagnosis. Martensopsalis can be distinguished from all other genera of Neopilionidae by the presence of a pointed basal apophysis on the ventral side of the palpal femur (Figs 3, 4C), although being more conspicuous in some individuals than others; palpal patella with a distal-prolateral apophysis (Figs 3, 4C), also with different degrees of development; palpal patella and tibia of similar size; palpal tarsus longer than other articles; a dense set of thick setae on all palpal articles; palpal claw well developed and smooth. Penis with long sclerotized straight shaft with a short glans, and the stylus being a coiled tube; without bristles, spines or setae.
Etymology. Named for our dear colleague Jochen Martens for his contributions and enormous influence on Opiliones systematics. The second part of the generic name is the classical Greek noun “psalis” (= scissors) which has been previously used in the names of other genera of Neopilionidae such as Megalopsalis, Forsteropsalis and Pantopsalis. The gender is feminine.
Distribution. Widespread in the southern half of New Caledonia’s Grande Terre.
Martensopsalis dogny Giribet & Baker spec. nov.
Etymology. The specific epithet, a noun in apposition, refers to the type locality, an emblematic mountain of New Caledonia that served as a place for exchange between the tribes from the east and the west of Grande Terre.
Distribution. Only known from its type locality, the Plateau de Dogny, at an elevation above 900 m.