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Web gigantism in Darwin's bark spider, a new species from Madagascar (Araneidae: Caerostris) Matjaz Kuntner1,2
 

Summary: Web gigantism in Darwin's bark spider, a new species from Madagascar (Araneidae: Caerostris)
Matjaz Kuntner1,2
and Ingi Agnarsson1,2,3
: 1
Institute of Biology, Scientific Research Centre, Slovenian Academy of
Sciences and Arts, Novi trg 2, P.O. Box 306, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia. E-mail: kuntner@gmail.com; 2
Department of
Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, NHB-105, P.O. Box 37012, Washington,
D.C. 20013-7012, USA; 3
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras (UPR-RP), San Juan, Puerto
Rico 00931, USA
Abstract. The remarkable bark spiders (genus Caerostris: Araneidae) are poorly known Old World tropical orb-weavers,
whose diversity, currently at 11 species, is grossly underestimated. Most species build large webs at forest edges, clearings,
and gardens, but in Madagascar, probably the hot spot of Caerostris diversity, at least one species occupies a unique
ecological niche: casting its web across streams, rivers and lakes, so that the orb is suspended above water and attached to
substrate on each riverbank via bridgelines up to 25 m. Here, we summarize current knowledge on Caerostris natural
history, and specifically focus on the remarkable web architecture and biology of the newly described Caerostris darwini n.
sp. Darwin's bark spider builds its web, a regular orb suspended above water, and maintains it with daily reinforcing of
bridgelines and renewal of orb for many days. Web size ranged from 90028,000 cm2
, with the largest measured web of

  

Source: Agnarsson, Ingi - Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine