Cryptachaea veruculata ( Urquhart, 1886 )

Smith, Helen M., Vink, Cor J., Fitzgerald, Brian M. & Sirvid, Phil J., 2012, Redescription and generic placement of the spider Cryptachaea gigantipes (Keyserling, 1890) (Araneae: Theridiidae) and notes on related synanthropic species in Australasia, Zootaxa 3507, pp. 38-56 : 50-53

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Cryptachaea veruculata ( Urquhart, 1886 )


Cryptachaea veruculata ( Urquhart, 1886) View in CoL

( Fig. 16 View FIGURES 11 – 16 )

Theridion veruculatum — Urquhart 1886: 188, pl. 7, fig. 1.

Theridion nigrofolium — Urquhart 1888: 112, pl. 11, fig. 3 (synonymised by Bryant 1933).

Theridion calyciferum — Urquhart 1886: 192, pl. 7, fig. 4. syn. nov.

Theridion extrilidum — Keyserling 1890: 244, pl. 22, fig. 3. syn. nov.

Achaearanea veruculata — Merrett & Rowe 1961: 89, figs 1–7; Dondale 1966: 1158, figs 1A–F; Locket, Millidge & Merrett 1974: 53, figs 30, 31A–D; Roberts 1985: 182, fig. 81c; Roberts 1995: 279, unnumbered fig.; Roberts 1998: 293, unnumbered fig.; Le Peru 2011: 434, fig. 655.

Cryptachaea veruculata View in CoL — Yoshida 2008: 39; Paquin, Vink & Dupérré 2010: 62, figs 34.7–8.

Type material. Theridion veruculatum : [ New Zealand], Auckland, Te Karaka. Not examined, whereabouts unknown.

Theridion calyciferum : [ New Zealand], Auckland, Te Karaka. Not examined, whereabouts unknown.

Theridion extrilidum : [ Australia, New South Wales], "Mrs Bradley caught a specimen near Sydney, two others, much brighter, at Cornvall". Keyserling (1890: 245) notes that he is unable to find this locality on the map; it would seem likely that it was a property name. Ƥ syntype, BMNH, BM1890.7.1.6816, examined [no locality information other than Australia]. The other specimens have not been located.

Theridion nigrofolium : [ New Zealand], Port Waikato. Not examined. Ƥ holotype, Canterbury Museum, New Zealand.

Selected material examined. AUSTRALIA: Australian Capital Territory: Corin Dam, 56km West of Canberra [35°34’S 148°23’E], 2 Dec 1969, H. Evans, spider wasp ( Pison sp.) prey, 3 Ƥ (AM KS.81652). Najor Orchard, Canberra [35°17’S 149°08’E], 8 Jan 1963, C.R. Maclennan, 2 3, 2 Ƥ (AM KS.35076). New South Wales: “Rock Glen”, Curracabundi National Park, NW of Gloucester, base camp (Rock Glen HS) [31°39’22”S 151°32’01”E], 13-15 Apr 2007, NPA volunteers, 1 Ƥ (AM KS. 101449). Berry [34°47’S 150°42’E], 28 Aug 1966, R.E. Mascord, 1 Ƥ (AM KS. 112583). Binnaway [31°33’S 149°23’E], 8 Jan 1975, A. Smith, in mud wasp nest, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.35077). Bylong [32°25’S 150°07’E], 8 Nov 1989, R. Griffith, egg sac camouflaged in hazel nut leaves, 2 Ƥ (AM KS.23367). Gundabooka National Park, Bennets Gorge picnic area [30°34’37”S 145°41’22”E], 20 Oct 2010, G.A. Milledge, H.M. Smith, 1 3, 3 Ƥ (AM KS.114364). Gundabooka National Park, start of walk at Dry Tank Campground [30°31’11”S 145°42’53”E], 21 Oct 2010, G.A. Milledge, H.M. Smith, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.114315). Lord Howe Is, Stn 18, foredune behind mid North Beach [31°31’06”S 159°02’30”E], 1 Feb 1971, M. Gray, in pandanus bracts, 1 3, 3 Ƥ (AM KS.81395). Lord Howe Is, Stn 22, plateau summit of Rabbit Island [31°32’12”S 159°03’36”E], 2 Feb 1971, M. Gray, 1 3, 2 Ƥ (AM KS.81382). Lord Howe Is, Stn 25, Lagoon Rd, N of Blinky Beach Rd t.o. [31°32’30”S 159°04’30”E], 3 Feb 1971, M. Gray, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.81392); same data, 2 Ƥ (AM KS.81396). Lord Howe Is, Stn 28, NE slope of North Hummock [31°32’48”S 159°05’06”E], 4 Feb 1971, M. Gray, on cedar trunk groove, 1 3, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.81384). Lord Howe Is, Stn 35, top of Smoking Tree Ridge [31°33’18”S 159°05’06”E], 7 Feb 1971, M. Gray, in dry grass litter, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.81394). Lord Howe Is, Stn 41, Goat House Cave [31°33’54”S 159°05’18”E], 10 Feb 1971, M. Gray, palm bracts, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.81391). Lord Howe Is, Stn 42, foot of saddle rise, Erskine Valley [31°34'42”S 159°04’30”E], 12-15 Feb 1971, M. Gray, with egg sac, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.81383). Lord Howe Is, Stn 7, W slope of Kim's Lookout [31°31’00”S 159°02’54”E], 31 Jan 1971, M. Gray, in fern, 1 3 (AM KS.81386). Lord Howe Island [31°33’S 159°05’E], Dec 1923, A Musgrave & G Whitley, 3 Ƥ (AM KS.81654). Moree [29°28’S 149°51’E], 18 Apr 1988, P. Twine, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.32587). Myuna Bay, Lake Macquarie [33°03’S 151°33’E], 13 Sep 1958, P. Goodwin & R Ford, 3 Ƥ (AM KS.81651). Paroo - Darling National Park, Coonavitra addition, N side of Barrier Hwy, old homestead [31°37’26”S 144°15’53”E], 25 Oct 2010, G.A. Milledge, H.M. Smith, 5 3, 2 Ƥ (AM KS.114319). Paroo - Darling National Park, Tilpilly addition [31°20’47”S 144°23’40”E], 24 Oct 2010, G.A. Milledge, H.M. Smith, 1 3, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.114160). Paroo - Darling National Park, track to E of Wilga HS [31°27’34”S 143°56’57”E], 25 Oct 2010, G.A. Milledge, H.M. Smith, 1 3, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.114334). Pomingalarna Park, 8km W of Wagga Wagga [35°04’S 147°22’E], 15 Oct 2001, C.A. Car, 1 3, 2 Ƥ (AM KS.93834); same data, 21 Aug 2000, C.A. Car, 1 3, 3 Ƥ (AM KS.93829). Royal National Park [34°07’55”S 151°03’04”E], 29 Sep 1966, R. Mascord, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.108020). The Rock Nature Reserve, 30km SW of Wagga Wagga [35°16’S 147°05’E], 21 Aug 2001, C.A. Car, 1 3 (AM KS.93922); same data, 31 May 2001, C.A. Car, 1 3, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.93927); same data, 11 Sep 2001, C.A. Car, 1 3, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.93955); same data, 27 Oct 2000, C.A. Car, 8 3, 2 Ƥ (AM KS.93971). South Australia: Mylor, 5km S of [35°03’S 138°46’E], 8 Jun 1980, A.D. Austin, 9 Ƥ (AM KS.10528). Western Australia: Nr Golgotha Cave, Wichcliffe [34°06’S 115°02’E], 23 Jan 1974, M. Gray, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.105852). Porongorups National Park, Castle Rock walking trail [34°41’S 117°57’E], 6 Feb 1979, M.R. Gray, in hanging curled bark, with egg sac 1 Ƥ (AM KS.14533). Stirling Range [34°22’S 117°48’E], 14 Jan 1974, M.R. Gray, 1 Ƥ (AM KS.35075).

NEW ZEALAND: Kermadec Islands: Raoul Island [29°18’50”S, 177°57’0”W], 15 May 2011, W.G. Chinn, 2 Ƥ ( AMNZ). Wellington: Stokes Valley [41°11’12”S, 174°58’46”E], 30 Nov 2008, B.M. Fitzgerald, 1 3, 1 Ƥ ( MONZ AS.002470). Stokes Valley, Raukawa St [41°11’15”S 174°58’31”E], 17 Oct 2011, B.M. Fitzgerald, on carport wall, 2 Ƥ (AM KS.116775). Mid Canterbury: Christchurch International Airport [43°29’12”S, 172°32’30”E], 2 Apr 2007, M.R. McNeill, 1 Ƥ ( LUNZ 00012667); same data, 1 Ƥ ( LUNZ 00012668); same data, 1 Ƥ ( LUNZ 00012669). Mary Duncan Park [43°34’30”S, 172°41’18”E], 19 Mar 2007, C.J. Vink, 1 Ƥ ( LUNZ 00012670). Somerfield [43°33’45”S, 172°37’40”E], 29 Nov 2008, C.J. Vink, 1 Ƥ ( LUNZ 00012671); same data, 1 Ƥ ( LUNZ 00012672); same data, 1 3 ( LUNZ 00012673). Kennedys Bush Scenic Reserve [43°38’3”S, 172°37’28”E], 30 Dec 2008, C.J. Vink, 1 Ƥ ( LUNZ 00012674). Lincoln University [43°38’35”S, 172°28’11”E], 2 Apr 2007, J. Malumbres-Olarte, 1 Ƥ ( LUNZ 00012675).

Comments. Merrett & Rowe (1961: 89) state that Dr R.R. Forster confirmed their identification of C. veruculata by comparison with the type specimens; the type material was reported to contain three species, but the figured specimen agreed with the Scilly Isles material. The whereabouts of this type material is now unknown: it has not been found in Otago Museum (C. Fraser pers. comm.) where Forster probably examined it, nor is it listed among Urquhart’s Canterbury Museum material ( Nicholls et al. 2000). Bryant (1933, pp. 15–16) gave a description of C. veruculata “based on the type of Theridion nigro-folium ”. She then added “In the Banks’ Collection at the Museum of Comparative Zoology is a specimen of Theridion veruculatum received from Urquhart. The two are the same, except that Theridion nigro-folium is smaller and darker and possibly the dark rings on the legs are wider. There is no difference in the epigynums”. We have not examined the type specimen of T. nigrofolium , which Nicholls et al. (2000) list amongst the arachnid types held at the Canterbury Museum, because access to the collection is not currently possible due to damage to the building sustained during the Christchurch earthquake in 2011.

Cryptachaea veruculata View in CoL has a strong abdominal colour pattern, which in combination with the epigynal illustration of T. calyciferum by Urquhart (1886), makes it clear that, despite the missing type specimens, these species are conspecific. The type of Theridion calyciferum is not in the Canterbury Museum, where all of Urquhart's existing type specimens are housed ( Court & Forster 1988; Nicholls et al. 2000; Paquin et al. 2008) and we consider the type as lost. As noted in the introduction, T. calyciferum was incorrectly placed in synonymy under T. cruciferum View in CoL by Roewer (1955). We now consider T. calyciferum to be conspecific with C. veruculata View in CoL on the basis of epigynal form (two rearward pointing, conical processes in T. calyciferum and C. veruculata View in CoL but only one in T. cruciferum View in CoL ). Urquhart’s (1886) descriptions of Theridion calyciferum and C. veruculata View in CoL also differ from that of T. cruciferum View in CoL with respect to female leg I superior tarsal claw count (7 versus 8) and leg colour pattern (speckled in T. cruciferum View in CoL ).

The expanded pedipalp of C. veruculata View in CoL is similar structurally to C. gigantipes View in CoL (cf. Fig. 16 View FIGURES 11 – 16 and Fig. 14 View FIGURES 11 – 16 ), suggesting a close relationship between the two species. The median apophysis and embolus of C. veruculata View in CoL are fused in a similar way to that of C. gigantipes View in CoL , supporting the diagnosis of Yoshida (2008). The basal sclerotised lobe of the median apophysis (MS) of C. veruculata View in CoL is larger than in C. gigantipes View in CoL , and the lobe that is accommodated in a pouch in the conductor is more robust. The terminal knob of the lobe is well sclerotised and lodged so firmly in the pouch that the conductor was ripped off the tegulum with the median apophysis/embolus unit when this was removed from the bulbus for examination.

Cryptachaea veruculata View in CoL was first explicitly identified in Australia by Dondale (1966) and is now known to be widespread and common, at least across southern Australia (HMS from AM database). Overall, there is a considerable size range, with some specimens from subtropical moist environments (e.g. Lord Howe Island, Raoul Island) noted as being approximately twice the size of the type of T. extrilidum and recent specimens from inland localities, such as Wagga Wagga, Bourke and White Cliffs. Cryptachaea veruculata View in CoL is found throughout New Zealand around houses and also in natural environments ( Forster & Forster 1999). However, note that the species illustrated under this name by Crowe (2007) appears to be C. blattea View in CoL .


University of Newcastle


Auckland Institute and Museum


Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa - Entomology


Lincoln University Entomology Research Museum














Cryptachaea veruculata ( Urquhart, 1886 )

Smith, Helen M., Vink, Cor J., Fitzgerald, Brian M. & Sirvid, Phil J. 2012

Cryptachaea veruculata

Paquin 2010: 62
Yoshida 2008: 39

Achaearanea veruculata

Le 2011: 434
Roberts 1998: 293
Roberts 1995: 279
Roberts 1985: 182
Locket 1974: 53
Dondale 1966: 1158
Merrett 1961: 89

Theridion extrilidum

Keyserling 1890: 244

Theridion nigrofolium

Urquhart 1888: 112

Theridion veruculatum

Urquhart 1886: 188

Theridion calyciferum

Urquhart 1886: 192
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