Artema transcaspica Spassky, 1934

Aharon, Shlomi, Huber, Bernhard A. & Gavish-Regev, Efrat, 2017, Daddy-long-leg giants: revision of the spider genus Artema Walckenaer, 1837 (Araneae, Pholcidae), European Journal of Taxonomy 376 (376), pp. 1-57 : 35-41

publication ID 10.5852/ejt.2017.376

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Artema transcaspica Spassky, 1934


Artema transcaspica Spassky, 1934 View in CoL

Figs 1 View Figs 1–2. 1 , 121–154 View Figs 121–127 View Figs 128–133 View Figs 134–145 View Figs 146–154 , 206 View Figs 201–207 , 213 View Figs 208–214

Artema transcaspica Spassky, 1934: 369–372 View in CoL , figs 8–10 (♂ ♀, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan).


Artema transcaspica View in CoL – Denis 1958: 112 ( Afghanistan). — Roewer 1955: 752 ( Iran). — Ghahari & Marusik 2009: 4 ( Iran). See redescription of A. doriae View in CoL above.


Males are easily distinguished from most other known congeners (except A. doriae and Artema sp. c) by their bulbal processes ( Figs 125–127 View Figs 121–127 ): process c triangular, curved and pointing towards prolateral, and distinct ventral process d. Males are possibly distinguishable from A. doriae and from Artema sp. c by their cheliceral proximal incline without ridge or process above modified hairs in lateral view ( Figs 128, 131–133 View Figs 128–133 ) which is present in A. doriae ( Figs 100–102 View Figs 97–102 ) and in Artema sp. c ( Figs 186–191 View Figs 186–194 ). Females differ from other congeners by their rectangular to square-shaped epigynal plate (i.e., lateral margins parallel; Figs 134–145 View Figs 134–145 , 150 View Figs 146–154 ) (rather slightly trapezoidal in A. doriae , rectangular and wider in Artema sp. c); by dark median sclerite fused at posterior epigynal margin with lateral sclerotized plates (not fused in A. doriae and Artema sp. c) and by less distinct pale median area posteriorly (in A. doriae the pale median area is usually distinct posteriorly, very prominent in Artema sp. c).

Material examined


The ZIN collection has three vials, two of which (with a total of 10 ♂♂, 18 ♀♀, ~15 juvs) contain both syntypes (as suggested by the label data) and non-types; the third (with 2 ♂♂, 1 juv.) may contain syntypes only, but the label does not specify any collection data. A further vial in MNHN may contain syntypes only (1 ♂, 2 ♀♀), but the collection data are also unclear. For these reasons, we list here all the material from these four vials, sorted by country. Specimen numbers are taken from the original description, but since specimens from different localities and collection dates were combined, individual specimens can no longer be attributed to different localities. This is why specimen numbers are unspecified in two cases below.

TAJIKISTAN: syntype ♀, “ Stalinabad ” [= Dushanbe, 38.53° N, 68.78° E], summer 1933, A. Alparov leg. ( ZIN). GoogleMaps

TURKMENISTAN: unspecified number of syntypes and non-types, “Ashkhabad” [= Ashgabat, 37.93° N, 58.36° E], spring 1933, E. Mel‘nikova leg. (syntypes) and 16 Apr. 1934, M.K. Laptev leg. (non-types) ( ZIN); GoogleMaps unspecified number of non-types, same locality, in room, 5 Sep. 1936, collector not given ( ZIN); 1 ♂, syntype, “ Krasnovodsk ” [= Türkmenbasy , 40.01° N, 52.96° E], summer 1900, Ahnger leg. ( ZIN); GoogleMaps 1 juv., syntype, Repetek, “ Transcaspian Province ” [38.56° N, 63.18° E], 1907, Dolgopolov leg. ( ZIN); GoogleMaps 1 ♂, syntype, Akhal-Teke [~ 38.1° N, 58.0° E], 1896, Ahnger leg. ( ZIN); GoogleMaps 1 ♂, 2 ♀♀, syntypes (?), “ Regio Transcaspica ”, date and collector not given (these are possibly part of the specimens from Ashkhabad collected in 1933 by Mel’nikova) ( MNHN Ar 10178).

UZBEKISTAN: 1 ♀ (non-type), “ Andizhan ” [= Andijan , 40.80° N, 72.30° E], in house, winter 1938, Karpovich leg. ( ZIN). GoogleMaps

Other material

TURKMENISTAN: 1 ♂, 1 ♀, Badkhyz, Kushka [35.68° N, 62.00° E], 12 Apr. 1985, S. Zonstein leg. ( NHMW 13.677); GoogleMaps 1 ♀, Kopetdag, Parkhai [~ 38.25° N, 57.8° E], in house, 19 Dec. 1992, V.I. Perepechaenko leg. ( ZFMK Ar 15245). GoogleMaps

UZBEKISTAN: 1 ♂, Navoi Area, Uchkuduk District , Kyzylkum Desert , ca 36.5 km SSW of Uchkuduk , ca 6 km SWS of Tasbulak Well , 120 m a.s.l., sands (41.85° N, 63.30° E), 2 Jun. 2003, A.V. Gromov leg. ( ZMMU); GoogleMaps 3 ♂♂, 3 ♀♀, Kafirnighan River Valley, Ak-Mechet [38.01° N, 68.29° E], in house, 7 May 1994, S. Ovchinnikov leg. ( ZMMU); GoogleMaps 2 ♂♂, 5 ♀♀, 1–2 km SE “ Zeravshan Town ” [= Zarafshon , 41.57° N, 64.24° E], 20 Apr.–19 Jul. 1998, A.V. Gromov leg. ( ZMMU); GoogleMaps 1 ♀, Bukhara Area [39.51° N, 64.84° E], 33 km SE of Bukhara , 19–20 May 1994, A.A. Zyuzin leg. ( ZMMU). GoogleMaps

TAJIKISTAN: 1 ♂, Vaksh River Valley, “ Tigrovaya Balka State Res. [38.35° N, 69.18° E], Korolevskaya Dacha , 3 Aug. 2006, S.V. Ovchinnikov leg. ( ZMMU); GoogleMaps 1 ♀, in pure ethanol, Khatton Area, Shaartuz Distr ., Khushody (37.152° N, 68.070° E), 378 m a.s.l., edge of sandy desert, shrub litter, 20 Apr. 2015, Y.M. Marusik leg. ( ZFMK Mar 60); GoogleMaps 2 ♂♂, 3 ♀♀, Kafirnigan River, 10–15 km NNE of Tartki (37.69° N, 68.15° E), inside solitary abandoned farmer house near riverbank, 12 Jun. 1989, S. Zonstein leg. ( SMNH). GoogleMaps

Material assigned tentatively (see Notes below)

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: 1 ♀, N of Ajman (25.43º N, 55.48º E), in water traps, 21 Sep.–25 Oct. 2007, A. van Harten leg. ( ZFMK Ar 15246). GoogleMaps


Male (unspecified origin; ZIN type vial)

MEASUREMENTS. Total body length 5.7, carapace width 3.1. Leg 1: 39.1 (10.1 + 1.3 + 11.5 + 14.0 + 2.2), tibia 2: 9.0, tibia 3: 7.0, tibia 4: 9.3; tibia 1 L/d: 38. Distance PME–PME 150 μm, diameter PME 190 μm, distance PME–ALE 90 μm, distance AME–AME 60 μm, diameter AME 180 μm.

COLOR. Carapace light ochre with large brown radial marks, with brown median band that splits at posterior margin of ocular area; ocular area ochre to brown, clypeus with dark brown rim and light brown band below AME enlarged at base of clypeus to triangular shape (as in Fig. 121 View Figs 121–127 ); legs ochre yellow without dark rings on femora, patellae, and tibiae; sternum ochre to light brown with narrow brown margins; abdomen without distinct pattern.

BODY. Ocular area slightly elevated; carapace with distinct posterior furrow and distinct median pit close to posterior margin of ocular area; clypeus unmodified; sternum wider than long (2.1/1.7); chelicerae as in Figs 128–130 View Figs 128–133 , with frontal row of ~25 modified (cone-shaped) hairs on each side, situated on elevated process (as in Figs. 146–148 View Figs 146–154 ); cheliceral proximal incline in lateral view without ridge or small process above modified hairs but followed smoothly by first modified hair (as in Fig. 131 View Figs 128–133 ); without stridulatory ridges (unlike some other specimens; see variation below); abdomen globose and high; gonopore with five epiandrous spigots.

PALPS. As in Figs 122–124 View Figs 121–127 ; coxa unmodified, trochanter with short ventral projection, femur with distinct retrolateral process proximally, ventral membranous area proximally bordered on both sides by heavily sclerotized ridges, and small dorsal projection proximally; femur-patella hinges close together dorsally; patella very short; procursus with proximal dorsal process, with weakly developed ventral pocket, and distal dorsal notch on prolateral sclerotized margin; bulb with membranous embolus rising from base of process a; process a with subdistal hump; process b narrow, elongated, and pointed; process c triangular; process d is a distinct small ventral projection (as in Figs 125, 127 View Figs 121–127 , 149 View Figs 146–154 ).

LEGS.Without spines;with long curved hairs, especially on tibiae and metatarsi; retrolateral trichobothrium on tibia 1 at 10%; prolateral trichobothrium present on all tibiae; pseudosegmentation not visible.

Male (variation)

Tibia 1 in 13 other males: 10.6–18.1 (mean 13.1); color pattern on abdomen varies from pale without any marks to light brown with lateral stripes; leg color varies from light brown to ochre; ocular area usually light brown; carapace pattern varies from wide brown lateral marks to pale carapace with median band only; two brown bands at base of ocular area sometimes absent; clypeus dark rim and dark band sometimes absent; procursus distal dorsal notch on prolateral margin sometimes slightly elevated and not a distinct indentation ( Fig. 126 View Figs 121–127 ); process c sometimes curved and pointing towards prolateral; lateral stridulatory ridges sometimes absent (as in specimen described above) or very indistinct but sometimes present ( Figs 128, 131 View Figs 128–133 , 153 View Figs 146–154 ); cheliceral proximal incline usually without ridge or small process above modified hairs in lateral view ( Figs 131, 133 View Figs 128–133 ); sometimes present but indistinct ( Fig. 132 View Figs 128–133 ). Epiandrous spigots were counted in five additional males and varied from 4 to 7.


In general similar to male; tibia 1 in 24 females: 7.0–12.8 (mean 10.8); stridulatory files laterally on chelicerae always present ( Fig. 154 View Figs 146–154 ); epigynal plate square-shaped ( Figs 134–145 View Figs 134–145 , 150 View Figs 146–154 ), consisting of two sclerotized lateral rectangular areas that are gently swollen posteriorly and depressed medially anteriorly, pale median area with long dark median sclerite, usually fused at posterior epigynal margin with lateral sclerotized plates, small median indentation in posterior rim; anterior epigynal projections oval, not prominent in lateral view.


The species is distributed from the Kopet Dag Mountain Range in the south of Turkmenistan to Tajikistan in the East ( Fig. 1 View Figs 1–2. 1 ). The species is also found north of this range and in Uzbekistan. It is likely that A. transcaspica occurs also in Kyrgystan and Kazakhstan. The single record from the United Arab Emirates is dubious (see below) and not shown in the map.


Artema transcaspica is very similar to A. doriae and to Artema sp. c from Pakistan, India, and Sudan (see below). While males of A. doriae and A. transcaspica are barely distinguishable, females differ slightly in their epigynum structure. For this reason, we decided to be conservative and not to synonymize A. doriae and A. transcaspica .

The single female from the United Arab Emirates is assigned tentatively because it does not seem to fit the distribution of this species.


Russia, St. Petersburg, Russian Academy of Sciences, Zoological Institute


France, Paris, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Germany, Bonn, Zoologische Forschungsinstitut und Museum "Alexander Koenig"


Canada, Saskatchewan, Regina, Royal Saskatchewan Museum


Russian Academy of Sciences, Zoological Institute, Zoological Museum


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien


Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig


Zoological Museum, Moscow Lomonosov State University


Department of Paleozoology, Swedish Museum of Natural History














Artema transcaspica Spassky, 1934

Aharon, Shlomi, Huber, Bernhard A. & Gavish-Regev, Efrat 2017

Artema transcaspica

Ghahari H. & Marusik Y. M. 2009: 4
Denis J. 1958: 112
Roewer C. F. 1955: 752

Artema transcaspica

Spassky S. A. 1934: 372
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