Anatea formicaria Berland

Smith, Helen M., Harvey, Mark S., Agnarsson, Ingi & Anderson, Gregory J., 2017, Notes on the Ant-mimic Genus Anatea Berland (Araneae: Theridiidae) and Two New Species from Tropical Australia, Records of the Australian Museum (Rec. Aust. Mus.) 69 (1), pp. 1-13: 5

publication ID 10.3853/j.2201-4349.69.2017.1672


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Anatea formicaria Berland


Anatea formicaria Berland  

Figs 1–12 View Figures 1–7 View Figures 8–11 View Figure 12 , 42 View Figures 38–43

Anatea formicaria Berland, 1927: 55   , figs 1–7.

Not species figured bY Reiskind & Levi, 1967: 21, figs 1–6 (misidentification, we refer this to sp. “J5”, Fig. 41 View Figures 38–43 ).

Diagnosis. Male: From other New Caledonian species shown in Figs 38–41, 43 View Figures 38–43 by pedicel and carapace morphology and careful comparison of palp, particularly embolus length. From Australian species, leg I longer than leg III, pedicel with “node”, cymbium with extended apex, ventral abdomen with ventral plates (but note male of A. elongata   sp. nov. is unknown). Female: from undescribed New Caledonian species by general morphology (as male) and details of genitalia; from Australian species by leg I longer than leg III, pedicel with “node”, dorsal scutum present.

Type material (not examined). 1♂ tYpe, 1♀ cotYpe, New Caledonia. Found by Berland (dried) in the collection of ants of Ernest André. Berland does not state what he did with the specimens.

Other material examined. NEW CALEDONIA: 1♀ QM S34107 View Materials , Rivière Bleu , Parc. 6, 22°05'S 166°40'E, 160 m, 9–22. iv.1987, L. Bonnet de Larbogne, J. Chazeau & A. & S. Tillier, Malaise trap, rainforest sassafras GoogleMaps   ; 1♂ QM S34113 View Materials , Rivière Bleu , Parc. 7, 22°05'S 166°40'E, 170 m, 25.xi–8.xii.1986, L. Bonnet de Larbogne, J. Chazeau & A. & S. Tillier, Malaise trap GoogleMaps   ; 1♂ 1♀ QM S20728 View Materials , Mt Koghis , 22°11'S 166°32'E, 500 m, 23–24.v.1987, R. Raven, rainforest, general and night collection GoogleMaps   ; 1♀, QM S107230, Pic d’Amoa, N slopes, 20°58'S 165°17'E, 500 m, 27.xi.2003 – 30.1.2004, G. Monteith, with Pheidole   sp. ant, flight intercept trap, SC11482 GoogleMaps   ; 1♂ KS.64090, Mt Panie , 20°38'S 164°46'E,, M. Moulds GoogleMaps   ; 1♀ WAM T86527 View Materials , Col de Rossettes , 21°27'S, 165°28'E, 11.ii.1993, Harvey, M.S., Platnick, N. I., Raven, R.J., rainforest litter GoogleMaps   .

Size range. Male (n = 3). Carapace range, 0.75–0.80. Total length 2.05–2.15. Female (n = 3). Carapace range, 0.83–0.92. Total length 2.40–2.55. Berland (1927) gives the total length as 2.2 mm for the species. See Berland (1927) for full male description.

Distribution. Recorded from mountainous rainforest sites across the main island of New Caledonia ( Fig. 12 View Figure 12 ).

Notes. The habitus and genitalia of A. formicaria   male and female are figured for comparison with the Australian species. Figure 1 View Figures 1–7 is repeated as Fig. 42 View Figures 38–43 to compare with other New Caledonian species.

Whilst Berland (1927) admitted his hypothesis that A. formicaria   was a mYrmecomorph could not be verified, he pointed out that it was found in a collection of ants and that the original collector had probably mistaken it for an ant; unfortunately, he did not (apparently) record which species or genera of ants the spiders were placed with in the collection. However, he comments (p. 53) that the spiders would match species of either Pheidole   or Monomorium   , both genera being well-represented in the New Caledonian ant fauna: En étudiant les Fourmis de Nouvelle-Calédonie, on trouve même sans trop de peine que l’Araignée se rapprocherait beaucoup d’un Pheidole   ou d’un Monomorium   , genres qui y sont très bien représentés.

Reiskind & Levi (1967) suggest different candidates as a model for the species they identify as Anatea formicaria   (which we have re-identified as a closelY related species, “J5”, see Figs 41, 42 View Figures 38–43 ), they write: “ Anatea formicaria   is an accurate mimic of the small myrmicine ant Chelaner croceiventre (Emery)   , 2.6 mm long, which has been collected at the same locality as the spider. The color pattern (dark brown anterior and light, yellow-brown posterior) of both is quite rare in ants and is also found in specimens of Xiphomyrma tenuierius Emery, 2.9 mm. long, and a species of Lordomyrma   , 4.8 mm long, two myrmicine ants found in the same area of rain forest (E. O. Wilson, pers. comm.).” The colour description given above, does not match the specimens we have seen of either A. formicaria   or “J5”, in which the cephalothorax is only slightly darker than the yellow-amber ground colour of the abdominal scute (see Figs 41, 42 View Figures 38–43 ). This difference maY be due to time since preservation or could represent colour polymorphism within the species “J5”, as is recorded in some other myrmecomorphs (see examples in Cushing, 1997). Berland’s original description of A. formicaria   (1927) gives colouration of cephalothorax, pedicel and abdominal scuta as “light reddish fawn” (“fauve rougeâtre clair”) but this is of minimal help as these were dried specimens of uncertain age.

Three of the Anatea   samples we have examined each contain a single ant, which we deduce may have been included by collector or sorter of the specimens as a putative model. All three ants are of similar appearance (but may not be conspecific) and are from the genus Pheidole   . The Pheidole   specimens are of pale golden colour, similar to A. formicaria   or our species “J5” (and possibly similar to juveniles of species “J1”). All these three Anatea   species occur together: QM S10730 View Materials and QM S10732 View Materials that now contain A. fomicaria   and species “J5”, respectively, were separated from QM S88025 View Materials , which now contains species “J1”; QM S88026 View Materials contains adults and a juvenile of species “J1” and a subadult A.? formicaria   . Of note is the size of the ants, which at c. 1.6 mm total length are considerably smaller than adult Anatea   of either similarly coloured species, and slightly smaller than the sub adult male Anatea   spp. included in two of the samples.


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Anatea formicaria Berland

Smith, Helen M., Harvey, Mark S., Agnarsson, Ingi & Anderson, Gregory J. 2017

Anatea formicaria

Berland, L 1927: 55