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The new Australian leaf-curling orb-weaving spider genus Leviana (Araneae, Araneidae)

Framenau, V.W. and Kuntner, M. (2022) The new Australian leaf-curling orb-weaving spider genus Leviana (Araneae, Araneidae). Evolutionary Systematics, 6 (2). pp. 103-133.

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The new Australian orb-weaving spider genus Leviana gen. nov. is described to include five species, all known from both sexes: Leviana dimidiata (L. Koch, 1871) comb. nov. (type species) (= Epeira sylvicola Rainbow, 1897 syn. nov.), L. cincinnata sp. nov., L. folium sp. nov., L. minima sp. nov. and L. mulieraria (Keyserling, 1887) comb. nov. Male pedipalp morphology, specifically the presence of a single patella spine and the median apophysis forming an arch over the radix, place Leviana gen. nov. in the informal Australian ‘backobourkiine’ clade; however, the genus differs from all other genera of this group by the presence of a spine inside the basal median apophysis arch of the male pedipalp, an epigyne that is wider than long with a scape that is approximately as long as the epigyne (but often broken off) and a lack of humeral humps on the elongate ovoid abdomen. In addition, unlike any other backobourkiine, Leviana gen. nov. incorporate a rolled leaf as retreat into the periphery of their web. Leviana gen. nov. species exhibit only a moderate sexual size dimorphism with female to male ratios between 1.3 and 1.7. Leviana gen. nov. occurs in eastern Australia from northern Queensland in the north to Victoria in the south, with a single tropical species, L. mulieraria comb. nov., spreading into northern Western Australia.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Harry Butler Institute
Publisher: Pensoft Publishers
Copyright: © 2022 Pensoft Publishers
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