Poltys frenchi Hogg, 2006

Smith, H. M., 2006, A Revision of the Genus Poltys in Australasia (Araneae: Araneidae), Records of the Australian Museum 58, pp. 43-96 : 69-72

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Poltys frenchi Hogg


Poltys frenchi Hogg View in CoL

Figs 9, 12, 29–30, 125–135, 138–143, 148–154, 158.

Poltys frenchi Hogg, 1899: 143 View in CoL , pl.13, f.2. Female holotype, Upper Endeavour River, Queensland, Australia; in NMV ( K953 View Materials ), examined.

Poltys sigillatus Chrysanthus, 1961:211 View in CoL , fig. 74–77. Female holotype, Mindiptana area, (locality marked “Y” on map in Chrysanthus, 1971), 1959, Br. Monulfus, in RMNH (#970); examined. New synonym.

Remarks. Doleschall’s P. moluccum and Bradley’s P. papuensis may be senior synonyms of this species. The types, however, have not been located, and neither are definitively identifiable from the original descriptions. The specimen that Thorell (1878) probably used in his redescription of P. moluccum has been examined (NHRM, 1026). It is a juvenile from the P. illepidus -group and is not referable to the present species.

Material examined. AUSTRALIA: QUEENSLAND: ƋƋ KS86341 , KS86342–44 , ♀♀ KS86345–46 , Cape Kimberley, track to lookout W of campsite, 16°16'28"S 145°28'05"E, 21 Sep. 2003 GoogleMaps ; ♀♀ KS33928 , KS33938 , KS33958 , KS33968–69 , Edmonton, 17°01'S 145°44'E, 20 Sep. 1976, 8 Jun. 1975, 28 Aug. 1970, 2 Sep. 1976, 28 Aug. 1976 GoogleMaps ; ƋƋ KS86338–40 , Ƌ KS86350–51 , Ƌ KS86491 , Edmonton, as previous record, 18 Sep. 2003 ; ƋƋ KS58026–7 , KS70356 , Trinity Park, S side of Moores Gully, 16°48'12"S 145°42'04"E, 14 May 2000 GoogleMaps ; Ƌ KS86353 , as previous record, 18 Sept. 2003 ; ƋƋ KS86254 , KS86352 , KS86492 , Trinity Park, S end of Panguna Rd, 16°48'46"S 145°41'20"E, 24 Sep. 2003 GoogleMaps ; KS86490 , Wonga Beach, near caravan park, 16°19'58"S 145°25'19"E, 20 Sep. 2003 GoogleMaps ; S42562 View Materials , Cooktown, 15°28'S 145°15'E, Dec. 1975 GoogleMaps ; S42620 View Materials , Jacky Jacky Ck, Cape York, c. 12°36'S 143°12'E, 28 Aug. 1985 GoogleMaps ; S42503 View Materials , Lockerbie, 10°48'S 142°28'E, 30 Jan. 1975 GoogleMaps . INDONESIA: MOLUCCAS [MALUKU]: ♀ ( RMNH) Aru Is, Manoembai, 11– 14 Oct 1929 , Snellius expedition. PAPUA NEW GUINEA: MADANG: ƋƋ ( RBIN) Baiteta forest , 5°01'S 145°45'E, 4 Jun. 1993 & 15 Jun. 1995 GoogleMaps . SANDAUN: ♀ ( HNHM) Feramin, NE (sic) Telefomin, 1450 m, 26–27 Aug. 1963 . SIMBU: ♀ ( HNHM) Karimui, 9–16 Jul. 1963 .

Reared specimens deposited in other institutions: ex female KS 86346: Ƌ to QM S66576 View Materials , Ƌ to NMV K8897.

Diagnosis. Females. From other species groups: epigyne an inverted spade-shape, as long or longer than wide, but widest away from the base ( Figs 138–140); carapace profile low and broad, pale in colour, with a well defined eye tubercle ( Figs 127, 130); front femora with distinct broadening ( Fig. 127); four prolateral cheliceral teeth. From P. timmeh (non Australian) by narrower, less marginal epigynal foveae ( Figs 139–140). Males. From other species groups by well defined, but almost flat-fronted, eye tubercle ( Fig. 148) (recently collected specimens with bright orange– yellow on creamy-white carapace dorsally, Fig. 150); legs without flattened macrosetae; male palp embolus arises prolaterally (like P. laciniosus -group) but has distinct TA ( Fig. 154). From P. timmeh by straight, solid conductor ( Figs 152– 154) and that most of the sclerites are smaller in proportion to the tegulum and subtegulum (compare ventral views, Figs 153 and 156).

Description. Female. The holotype is in poor condition and is fragile. A more recently collected specimen, which is a good physical match for the holotype (except in abdominal shape), is described here. Carapace length range: 4.00–5.83. Drawn specimens Figures: 30, 127–131, KS86345 (male from Fig. 148); 132–133, S42562 View Materials ; 134– 135, 138–139, S42503 View Materials ; 140–143, holotype (NMV).

Female S42562 View Materials . Prosoma. Carapace ( Figs 127, 130– 131), length 5.83, width 4.17, height 1.47; broad and low ( Fig. 131), lateral margins at coxa I straight or concave ( Fig. 130); eye tubercle well developed, relatively slender and slightly elevated ( Fig. 127). Chelicerae: paturon with 4 promarginal teeth. Labium: length 0.65, width 1.0. Sternum: length 2.37, width 2.37; sternal extensions at bases of legs II–IV ( Fig. 129). Eyes. ( Figs 127, 131). AME>PME> ALE >PLE; ALE c. 0.5× its own diameter fromAME; ventral margin of ALE is just ventral to mid point of AME. Legs. ( Figs 127). P+TL I: 8.58, II: 7.92, III: 4.67, IV: 6.08; front femora distinctly broadened with greatest diameter c. 3 ⁄ 5 way to apex. Abdomen. ( Figs 127–128, [holotype Figs 142– 143]). Length 11.25, width 8.00; broadest at small tubercles just anterior to main apodemes; “microsigillae” well developed. Epigyne. (Holotype). Spade-like (as in cards), widest point less than half-way to tip ( Fig. 140); distal tip expanded into paired lobes posteriorly ( Figs 140–141); foveae wide and relatively shallow but well separated from lateral margins ( Fig. 140, also see Fig. 139), narrowing into short copulatory ducts basally (as in Fig. 30); spermathecae closely spaced; epigyne often lightly sclerotized compared to P. illepidus -group and P. laciniosus -group. Colour in alcohol. ( S42562 View Materials ) Carapace yellow, pro-foveal suture red, eye tubercle orange brown, carapace margins ventral to lateral eyes brown. Chelicerae orange-brown with pale patch basally. Labium and maxillae orange-brown. Pedipalps yellow-olive. Femora I and II orange-yellow with darker distal band; femur III mottled pale and brown; femur IV pale basally to dark distally; distal legs mottled orange–brown. Sternum orangebrown. Abdomen ventrally fawn, dorsally with brown and black markings on a pale ground. Fresh specimens usually have pale creamy-grey dorsal carapace.

Male. Carapace length range: 0.94–1.10. Drawn specimens Figures: 29, KS86338; 148–151, KS86342; 152–154, KS86338.

Male KS86342. Prosoma. Carapace: length 1.04, width 0.78, height 0.33; broad pear-shape in dorsal view but lateral margins at coxa I straight to concave (usually straight– convex in other species) ( Fig. 150); eye tubercle well defined with distinct “v” between caput and eye tubercle in lateral view, slightly elevated ( Fig. 148). Labium: length 0.10, width 0.18. Sternum: length 0.45, width 0.44. Eyes. ( Figs 148, 151). AME≥PME> ALE ≥PLE; ALE c. ½ × its own diameter from AME; height of ventral margin of ALE is at mid point of AME; AME prominent on slight tubercles. Legs. ( Fig. 148). P+TL I: 1.29, II: 1.18, III: 0.63, IV: 0.88. Abdomen. ( Figs 148–149). Length 1.63, width 1.00; a narrow ellipsoid, broadest at 2 ⁄ 3 height. Palpal organ. Radix–stipes joint retrolateral ( Fig. 153), stipes directed apically, not hidden by cymbium; embolus and TA arise retroapically ( Figs 126, 154); embolus a slender slightly curved rod, ventral groove visible under SEM ( Fig. 125– 126, 152); TA adpressed to embolus basally, free retrolaterally apically ( Figs 126, 154); PM a curved plate with reticulated surface, less heavily sclerotized than P. laciniosus -group ( Fig. 125, 153). Colour in alcohol. Carapace pale olive-grey with black median markings; eye tubercle bright orange, with black around eyes and between AME, giving “masked” appearance. Chelicerae as carapace with fuscous markings. Labium pale with fuscous edging to basal part, maxillae darker. Femora I, II and IV pale basally to dark distally (IV darkest); distal legs mottled fuscous, turning into distinct dark banding on distal metatarsi and tarsi; underside of tibia–metatarsus III with large black spots that merge together. Sternum pale anteriorly with dark lateral and posterior borders.Abdomen ventrally greyish-fawn, dorsally with dark pattern on a white ground.

Variation. The types of P. frenchi and P. sigillatus , plus the described Cooktown specimen ( S42562 View Materials ), correspond in width of epigynal foveae, colouration and general build. All the other females examined are slightly more lightly built, the carapace is more lightly coloured, and the epigynal foveae are narrower ( Fig. 139). The abdominal shape of the figured female ( Fig. 128) seems to be common in P. frenchi specimens in Australia but overall the variations in shape are similar to those seen in the P. laciniosus -group, including tall twig-like forms ( Fig. 134) and ones with dual humeral tubercles and central “tower”. More darkly coloured and heavily built specimens can also resemble P. illepidus -group, especially when swollen with eggs.

Biology. The biology of P. frenchi appears to be as described for other Australian Poltys species except that many webs have a slight extension at the top made by adding an extra zigzag of sticky spirals (although other species may have uneven webs to fit the available space). Only one adult female web has been observed, 17 cm high× 14 cm wide, with the hub fully eaten out ( Fig. 12). These spiders are less reliant on dead vegetation than most other Australian species, often being found on living or dead vines as well as other twigs, and commonly with green pigmentation in the cuticle and on the abdomen. Two egg sacs laid in captivity were of cream-coloured silk with lemon-yellow covering; one had a sparse outer layer, the other was rather thicker and smoothly finished ( P. illepidus egg sacs are always loosely finished). In Australia, P. frenchi is restricted to low-altitude, but mostly slightly scrubby, rainforest with openings ( P. noblei n.sp. is restricted to higher altitudes at a similar latitude). One female ( S42562 View Materials ) was collected from the larval provisions in a mudwasp nest.

Distribution. Northern Australia, New Guinea and southern Moluccas ( Indonesia) ( Fig. 158).


National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis


Hungarian Natural History Museum (Termeszettudomanyi Muzeum)


Queensland Museum


Museum Victoria














Poltys frenchi Hogg

Smith, H. M. 2006

Poltys sigillatus

Chrysanthus, P 1961: 211

Poltys frenchi Hogg, 1899: 143

Hogg, H 1899: 143
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