AAS Australasian Arachnological Society

Long-Spinnered Bark Spiders

Hersiliidae Thorell 1870

(compiled by Barbara Baehr)

Identification

Tamopsis fickerti
Tamopsis fickerti (female)

In Australia, the Long-Spinneret Bark Spiders or Hersiliidae have a Gondwanan distribution and are found in all tropical and subtropical regions. The spiders are three-clawed, ecribellate, medium sized (5-10mm) with a greyish camouflage colour. They can be easily identified by the extremely elongated posterior lateral spinnerets. In Australia the Long-Spinneret Bark Spiders consist of two genera. Both have extremely long legs with ‘double’ metatarsi in legs I, II, and IV in Hersilia and a flexible zone in the second half in the metatarsi of legs I, II, and IV in Tamopsis.


Biology

Tamopsis  brisbanae
Tamopsis brisbanae (male)

Long-Spinneret Bark Spiders are distributed all over Australia with the exception of the dry interior. They live wherever there are trees, from the rainforests in Queensland to the deserts in the Kimberleys of Western Australia. All Australasian Hersiliidae are arboreal, living on tree trunks or branches of mainly eucalypt trees. The spiders are cryptic since their flat bodies are well camouflaged. Only the guide threads on the tree trunks reflecting in the sushine will help to spot them (Dippenaar-Schoemann & Jocque 1997). They are very fast movers, in particular after disturbances. They subdue their prey by fixing it to the tree trunk with bands of silk produced by their rapidly rotating long spinnerets. The eggsac can be attached to the tree trunk like a little vulcano (see page 428 in Baehr & Baehr 1987) or may hang on a stalk from branches (see page 415 in Baehr & Baehr 1987).

Hersiliidae in Australasia

Tamopsis fickerti (male) opens in new window
Tamopsis fickerti (male)

With the revisions of Baehr & Baehr (1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993a, 1993b, 1998) and Rheims & Brescovit (2004), 91 Australasian species of Hersiliidae are described to date, including an analysis of their phylogenetic relationships and distribution pattern.


Australia

55 Australian species of Hersiliiidae in two genera, Hersilia and Tamopis, are described (see list of Australian spiders and Australian Faunal Directory) and their phylogenetic relationships and distribution pattern are well documented (Baehr & Baehr 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993a, 1998).

New Zealand

No species of Hersiliidae are listed from New Zealand

South East Asia

Long-Spinneret Bark Spiders are quite common and more diverse in South East Asia than in Australia. Whereas the Australian Fauna includes only two genera, 5 genera occur in the Asian region (Hersilia, Murricia, Neotama, Promurricia and Tamopsis). The revisions of Baehr & Baehr 1993b and Rheims & Brescovit (2004) revealed 36 species of Hersiliidae in South East Asia including their phylogenetic relationships and distribution pattern. (Platnick's World Spider Catalog and Rheims & Brescovit (2004) list:

  • Hersilia asiatica Song & Zheng, 1982: China, Thailand, Taiwan
  • Hersilia baliensis Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Bali
  • Hersilia clypealis Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Thailand
  • Hersilia deelemanae Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Sumatra
  • Hersilia facialis Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Sumatra
  • Hersilia feai Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Myanmar
  • Hersilia flagellifera Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Sumatra
  • Hersilia impressifrons Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Borneo
  • Hersilia jajat Rheims & Brescovit, 2004: Borneo
  • Hersilia kerekot Rheims & Brescovit, 2004: Borneo
  • Hersilia kinabaluensis Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Borneo
  • Hersilia lelabah Rheims & Brescovit, 2004: Borneo
  • Hersilia madang Baehr & Baehr, 1993: New Guinea
  • Hersilia martensi Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Nepal
  • Hersilia mjoebergi Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Sumatra
  • Hersilia nentwigi Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Java, Sumatra, Krakatau
  • Hersilia nepalensis Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Nepal
  • Hersilia novaeguineae Baehr & Baehr, 1993: New Guinea
  • Hersilia pectinata Thorell, 1895: Myanmar, Borneo, Philippines
  • Hersilia savignyi Lucas, 1836: Sri Lanka, India to Philippines
  • Hersilia simplicipalpis Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Thailand
  • Hersilia striata Wang & Yin, 1985: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Java, Sumatra
  • Hersilia sumatrana (Thorell, 1890): India, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo
  • Hersilia sundaica Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Lombok, Sumbawa
  • Hersilia tibialis Baehr & Baehr, 1993: India, Sri Lanka
  • Hersilia vicina Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Thailand
  • Murricia cornuta Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Singapore
  • Murricia crinifera Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Sri Lanka
  • Murricia triangularis Baehr & Baehr, 1993: India
  • Neotama longimana Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Java, Sumatra
  • Neotama punctigera Baehr & Baehr, 1993: India
  • Neotama rothorum Baehr & Baehr, 1993: India
  • Neotama variata (Pocock, 1899): Sri Lanka
  • Promurricia depressa Baehr & Baehr, 1993: Sri Lanka
  • Tamopsis floreni Rheims & Brescovit, 2004: Borneo
  • Tamopsis wau Baehr & Baehr, 1993: New Guinea

References

Baehr, B. and Baehr, M. (1987). The Australian Hersiliidae (Arachnida: Araneae): Taxonomy, Phylogeny, Zoogeography. Invertebrate Taxonomy 1: 351-437.

Baehr, B. and Baehr, M.(1988). On Australian Hersiliidae from the South Australian Museum (Arachnida: Araneae). Supplement to the revision of the Australian Hersiliidae. Records of the South Australian Museum 22: 13-20.

Baehr, B. and Baehr, M. (1989). Three new species of genus Tamopsis Baehr and Baehr from Western Australia (Arachnida, Araneae, Hersiliidae). Second supplement to the revision of the Australian Hersiliidae. Records of the Western Australian Museum 14: 309-320.

Baehr, B. and Baehr, M. (1992). New species and new records of genus Tamopsis Baehr and Baehr, (Arachnida, Araneae, Hersiliidae). Third supplement to the revision of the Australian Hersiliidae. Records of the Western Australian Museum 16: 61-77.

Baehr, B. and Baehr, M. (1993a). Further new species and new records of Hersiliidae from Australia, with an updated key to all Australian species (Arachnida, Araneae, Hersiliidae). Fourth supplement to the revision of the Australian Hersiliidae. Records of the Western Australian Museum 16: 347-391.

Baehr, B. and Baehr, M. (1993a). Further new species and new records of Hersiliidae from Australia, with an updated key to all Australian species (Arachnida, Araneae, Hersiliidae). Fourth supplement to the revision of the Australian Hersiliidae. Records of the Western Australian Museum 16: 347-391.

Baehr, B. and Baehr, M. 1995. New species and new records of Hersiliidae from Australia (Arachnida, Araneae, Hersiliidae). Fifth supplement to the revision of the Australian Hersiliidae. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 52: 107-118.

Baehr, B. 1998. The genus Hersilia: phylogeny and distribution in Australia and New Guinea (Arachnida, Araneae, Hersiliidae). – Proc. 17th Europpean Coll. Arachnology 1997. Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society: 61-65.

Baehr, M. and Baehr, B. 1993b. The Hersiliidae of the Oriental Region including New Guinea. Taxonomy, phylogeny, zoogeography (Arachnida, Araneae). Spixiana, Supplement 19: 1-96.

Dippenaar-Schoemann A. S. & Jocque, R. 1997. African Spiders. An Identification Manual. Biosystematic Devision ARC – Plant Protection Research Institute. 1-392. Johannisburg.

Rheims, C.A. & Brescovit, A.D. 2004. Description of four new species of Hersiliidae (Arachnida, Araneae) from Kinabalu National Park, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia. Journal of Natural History, 38, 2851-2861.



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