Thursday, May 16, 2024

[Arachnida • 2024] Austrarchaea andersoni • A New Species of Pelican Spider (Araneae: Archaeidae) from the Whitsunday Hinterland of central-eastern Queensland

Austrarchaea andersoni Rix,  

in Rix et Harvey, 2024

Pelican spiders of the genus Austrarchaea Forster & Platnick, 1984 (family Archaeidae) are well represented in the tropical rainforests of central-eastern and north-eastern Queensland, with nine species currently described. However, this monophyleytic tropical fauna remains poorly documented relative to other lineages of Archaeidae from subtropical and temperate regions south of the St Lawrence Gap, with numerous additional species likely still unnamed. Here, we describe a new species from the Central Mackay Coast bioregion of central-eastern Queensland. Like other Australian Archaeidae, it is a short-range endemic taxon, known only from upland rainforest habitats in the Whitsunday hinterland near Airlie Beach. We show its clear morphological affinities to a closely related species from Eungella National Park, and further provide live habitus images and habitat information.

Austrarchaea andersoni Rix, sp. nov. from Conway National Park:
1, paratype female (QMB S124037) cephalothorax and abdomen, lateral view; 2, holotype male (QMB S124036) cephalothorax and abdomen, lateral view; 3, holotype male chelicerae and accessory setae, lateral view; 4, 5, paratype female (QMB S124039) internal genitalia, cleared (4, postero-ventral view; 5, antero-dorsal view). Abbreviations: AS, accessory setae; BL, book lung cover; GP, genital plate; SP, spermathecae. Scale bar = 1.0 mm (1, 2).

Live habitus and habitat images of Austrarchaea andersoni Rix, sp. nov.:
 12–14, paratype female (QMB S124037) from Conway National Park; 15, 16, holotype male (QMB S124036) from Conway National Park; 17, paratype male (QMB S124043) from Conway National Park; 18–20, rainforest habitat at the type locality, start of Whitsundays Great Walk, Conway National Park. Images 12–14 by G. Anderson (used with permission); 15–20 by M. Rix.

 Family ARCHAEIDAE Koch & Berendt, 1854
 Genus Austrarchaea Forster & Platnick, 1984

Austrarchaea andersoni Rix, sp. nov. 
(Whitsunday Hinterland Pelican Spider)

Etymology: This species is named in honour of Dr Greg Anderson, Honorary Research Fellow at Queensland Museum, for his substantial contributions to arachnology, and for first collecting this species at Conway National Park in 2023.

Michael G. Rix and Mark S. Harvey. 2024. A New Species of Pelican Spider (Araneae: Archaeidae) from the Whitsunday Hinterland of central-eastern Queensland. Australian Journal of Taxonomy. 64: 1–7. DOI: 10.54102/ajt.8sf6i