Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography

Systematics of the Australian orb-weaving spider genus Demadiana with comments on the generic classification of the Arkyinae (Araneae : Araneidae)

Volker W. Framenau A B F , Nikolaj Scharff C D and Mark S. Harvey A B E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Terrestrial Zoology, Western Australian Museum, Locked Bag 49, Welshpool DC, Western Australia 6986, Australia.

B School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia.

C Natural History Museum of Denmark, Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.

D Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.

E Division of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 49th Street, New York, NY 10024-5192, USA; and California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94103-3009, USA.

F Corresponding author. Email:

Invertebrate Systematics 24(2) 139-171
Submitted: 12 February 2010  Accepted: 13 April 2010   Published: 29 June 2010


The orb-weaving spider subfamily Arkyinae L. Koch, 1872 is exclusively found in the Australasian region and its taxonomy and the systematic relationships within and between genera of this subfamily are poorly understood. We here revise the arkyine genus Demadiana Strand, 1929 to include six Australian species, four of which are described as new: Demadiana simplex (Karsch, 1878) (type species), D. carrai, sp. nov., D. cerula (Simon, 1908), comb. nov., D. complicata, sp. nov., D. diabolus, sp. nov., and D. milledgei, sp. nov. A phylogenetic analysis based on an updated araneid morphological data matrix including 57 genera of orb-weaving spiders identified Demadiana as a member of the araneid subfamily Arkyinae. A separate phylogenetic analysis for the genus at the species level showed little resolution within Demadiana, but did identify a monophyletic Demadiana supported by three putative synapomorphies: small unique setal pits with spherical sockets covering the carapace, sternum and the bases of the paturon (chelicerae), an extreme elongation of the trumpet-like aggregate spigots of the posterior lateral spinnerets and a distinct curvature of the embolus. We detail several new generic and species synonymies within Arkyinae. Aerea Urquhart, 1891 (type species Aerea alticephala Urquhart, 1891) and Neoarchemorus Mascord, 1968 (type species N. speechleyi Mascord, 1968) are regarded as junior synonyms of Arkys Walckenaer, 1837 (type species A. lancearius Walckenaer, 1837), resulting in Arkys speechleyi (Mascord, 1968), comb. nov. Aerea magnifica Urquhart, 1893 and Archemorus simsoni Simon, 1893 are regarded as junior synonyms of Aerea alticephala Urquhart, 1891, and Arkys nitidiceps Simon, 1908 is proposed as a junior synonym of Arkys walckenaeri Simon, 1879.

Additional keywords: Aerea, Archemorus, Arkys, Australasia, Neoarchemorus, new species, phylogeny, taxonomy.


We are indebted to a variety of curators, collection managers and museum staff for assistance in accessing their collections either as loans or during visits to their respective institutions and by providing access to their databases: Owen Seeman, Robert Raven and Barbara Baehr (QM), David Hirst (SAM), Graham Milledge and Helen Smith (AM), Peter Lillywhite, Ken Walker and Richard Marchant (NMV), Janet Beccaloni (BMNH), Hieronymus Dastych (ZMH), and Jason Dunlop (ZMB). Helen Smith (AM) collected the living specimens of D. cerula that were photographed for Fig. 1A, B. This study would have been impossible without the support of these institutions and their enthusiastic personnel. We are grateful to Tamás Sz?ts (California Academy for Sciences) for productive comments on this manuscript. This study was initially supported by the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) to VWF and NS (grant no. 205–24) and by the Danish Natural Science Foundation to NS (grant no. 21020502). VWF received funding through BHP Billiton Iron Ore in the final stages of this study. NS received funding through the Center for Macroecology, University of Copenhagen, when this study was completed.


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