Spider Odds and Ends

Phil Sirvid *1, Mike Fitzgerald 1, Cor Vink 2

1 Museum of New Zealand, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140
2 Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch 8103

Many New Zealand spiders have been described from only one sex. This isn’t always a problem, but is when the missing sex has been collected elsewhere and described as a different species, or placed in a different genus. In extreme cases even the family is in doubt. Pacificana cockayni is a Bounty Islands endemic described in 1904 from the female alone, and family placement was uncertain. Males were finally collected last year. Hopes the male would make family placement obvious have been dashed. We think it might be a cycloctenid, but if so, it’s an odd one. Alas, we have no cycloctenid DNA to compare it with, and there is some doubt members of this family really belong together. In short, the discovery of the male of Pacificana has led to more questions than answers. A linyphiid, Drapetisca australis, from the Antipodes Islands, is a “female only” species and the sole NZ representative of a northern hemisphere genus. It looks to be a species of Diplopecta, possibly Diploplecta proxima, another “female only” species, from the Antipodes. The theridiid, Pholcomma antipodiana from Antipodes Island, is a “male only” species, and P. hickmani from Campbell Island, “female only”. Forster (1964) suggested that it might be as the female of P. antipodiana, a view supported by Vink’s study of specimens of both sexes from the Antipodes (in Marris 2000). We also suspect that a Pholcomma species from mainland NZ is conspecific with P. antipodiana. Another theridiid, an undescribed species of Coleosoma, is found in twiggy litter and on shrubby plants in northern parts of New Zealand. We think it may be a recent arrival from Australia, although no Coleosoma species have been described from there.

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