THE ORB-WEAVER GENERA METEPEIRA, KAIRA AND ACULEPEIRA IN AMERICA NORTH OF MEXICO (ARANEAE: ARANEIDAE) HERBERT W. LEVI' Abstract. Metepeiia and Kaira are known only abundant in semidesert, an unusual habitat in the Americas. Eleven species of Metepeira live nortli of Mexico, frequently in semiarid regions. A number of species are sympatric in the south-western United States and are often collected to-gether. Only four species of Kaira have been found north of Mexico; in one of these only females are known, in another, only males. The habits of Kaira species remain a mystery. Aculepeira is mainly an Eurasian genus, but two species live in North America; both North American species also occur in Siberia. One, A. packardi, is found in the Arctic, in western mountains, in meadows and in sagebrush. Tlie other, A. carhonarioides, has been discovered only between boulders in talus slides of the Arctic, the Rocky Mountains, the Gaspe Peninsula and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Identification of Eurasian species was difficult because few specimens were available. INTRODUCTION for orb-weavers. The two Aculepeira spe-cies are found in mountain meadows and tahis slopes where it is very hot during the day, but becomes freezing at night, even in midsummer. But here the similarity ends. After careful study I found Metepeira and Kaira are not closely related to Araneus and are Hmited to the Americas, but Acule-peira is an Old World genus close to Araneus. Two Siberian species of Acule-peira are believed to have spread over the North American continent into various "va-cant" niches. At least four other species are known from Eurasia (Figs. 187-231), but no others are known from America. For this study the collections of the Mu-seum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) were The genera sequence of these revisions used. I would like to thank the following is unfortunately not phylogenetic; instead for specimens: J. A. Beatty; D. E. BLxler; their arrangement develops from the order J. E. Carico; R. Crabill (National Museum in which specimens could be sorted out of Natural Histoiy); C. D. Dondale (Ca-most easily from the available collections. I started with Argiope and tlie large species of Araneus. This paper includes species that have at times been confused with those in Araneus and other genera. When I started this revision of the three genera, I thought Aculepeira was close to Metepeira. Species of both genera have a median wliite streak on the venter of the abdomen, the median apophysis of the male palpus has two fla-gella and species of both inliabit extieme climates. The Metepeira species are most ^ Museum of Comparative Zoology. Bull. Mus. Comp. ZooL, 148(5 nadian National Collections, CNC); S. I. Frommer (University of California, River-side Collections); M. Grasshoff (Sencken-berg Museum, Frankfurt, SMF); J. Gruber ( Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien); N. Horner; M. Hubert (Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris ) ; W. R. Icenogle; B. J. Kaston; J. B. Kethley (Field Museum); T. Kronestedt (Natural History Museum, Stockholm, NRS); R. Leech; W. B. Peck (Exline-Peck Collection); W. J. Gertsch and N. I. Platnick (American Museum of Natural Historv, AMNH and Cornell Uni-185-238, November, 1977 185



The orb-weaver genera Metepeira, Kaira, and Aculepeira in America north of Mexico (Araneae, Araneidae)

H W Levi
Bulletin of The Museum of Comparative Zoology 148: 185-238 (1977)

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