Australian pirates: systematics and phylogeny of the Australasian pirate spiders (Araneae: Mimetidae), with a description of the Western Australian fauna

D. Harms, Mark Harvey

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    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Pirate spiders (Mimetidae) are well known for their specialised feeding ecology. They are vagrant araneophagic predators, enter the webs of their prey spiders and exhibit patterns of aggressive mimicry to overcome the web owner. The mimetid fauna of Australia and New Zealand currently consists of 26 species in the following three genera: Australomimetus Heimer, 1986 (18 species), Mimetus Hentz, 1832 (six species), and Ero C.L. Koch, 1836 (two species). The systematic position of the majority of Australasian mimetids was investigated through phylogenetic techniques utilising morphological character systems of 29 exemplar taxa and 87 characters, including the first examination of spinneret structure in species of Australomimetus. The results support an expanded concept for Australomimetus, which, apart from the introduced Ero aphana (Walckenaer, 1802), is found to contain the entire Australian and New Zealand mimetid fauna, also recorded from Asia. The following taxonomic changes are proposed: A. catulli (Heimer, 1989), comb. nov., A. hannemanni (Heimer, 1989), comb. nov., A. japonicus (Uyemura, 1938), comb. nov., A. mendicus (O. P. Cambridge, 1879), comb. nov. and A. sennio (Urquhart, 1891), comb. nov.; Ero luzoniensis Barrion & Litsinger, 1995 is synonymised with Ero aphana, and A. andreae Heimer, 1989 is synonymised with A. daviesianus Heimer, 1986; Mimetus tikaderi Gajbe, 1992 from India is excluded from Mimetidae, and referred to Liocranidae. The Western Australian mimetid fauna is described for the first time and comprises nine species of Australomimetus, including the following five new species: A. diabolicus, sp. nov., A. djuka, sp. nov., A. dunlopi, sp. nov., A. nasoi, sp. nov. and A. stephanieae, sp. nov. Several species-groups of Australomimetus are identified.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-280
    JournalInvertebrate Systematics
    Volume23
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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