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A new genus for a large, endemic orb-weaving spider (Araneae, Araneidae) from New Zealand

Framenau, V.W., Vink, C.J., McQuillan, B.N. and Simpson, A.H. (2021) A new genus for a large, endemic orb-weaving spider (Araneae, Araneidae) from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology .

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A new monotypic orb-weaving spider (Araneidae Clerck, 1757) genus, Courtaraneus gen. nov., is described to accommodate the New Zealand species C. orientalis (Urquhart, 1887) comb. nov. This new genus is proposed, as the male pedipalp of the species is unique amongst orb-weaving spiders by the presence of two complex tibial apophyses and a heavily sclerotised cymbial lobe at the base of a strong, elongated paracymbium. The pedipalp bulb is complex with heavily sclerotised sclerites. The median apophysis is situated transverse, the radix strong and wedge-shaped and the terminal apophysis heavily sclerotised and flat, U-shaped. The embolus is accompanied by three terminal apophyses on the elongated stipes. The female epigyne scape forms a tongue, surrounded by an elevated rim, the spermathecae are spherical. The unique autapomorphic characters of the new genus make the phylogenetical placement of the genus difficult. Courtaraneus orientalis comb. nov. is one of the largest endemic orb-weaving spiders in New Zealand and has been found in multiple locations in the North Island in scrub and forest margins. The orb-web is vertical, large, and the catching threads are widely spaced; however, the hub is poorly structured and the orb often incomplete.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Harry Butler Institute
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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