Manju Siliwal


The striated parachute spider Poecilotheria striata Pocock, 1895 (Araneae: Theraphosidae): a note on taxonomy, distribution and conservation status

Manju Siliwal, Neha Gupta, Sanjay Molur ,2013

The known distribution range of Poecilotheria striata Pocock, 1895 in India is from Mysuru in the north to Thiruvananthapuram in the south. During the recent surveys in northern Karnataka, P. striata was recorded from six locations in Dandeli and nearby areas in the Uttara Kannada District. With the new records from Uttara Kannada, the distribution range of this species extends to the northern part of the Western Ghats by ca. 400km from Mysuru. Additional records on distribution of P. striata are also provided from various surveys carried out in the last 10 years. Based on these new records, the IUCN Red List status of P. striata is recommended to be reassessed as Near Threatened. Additional information on the morphology and natural history of P. striata is provided in the paper. Keywords:

A new genus of the family Theraphosidae (Araneae: Mygalomorphae) with description of three new species from the western Ghats of Karnataka, India

Manju Siliwal, Neha Gupta, Robert John Raven ,2012

The subfamily Ischnocolinae of the family Theraphosidae is a generic complex and Raven (1985) considered all genera (including the only Indian genus Plesiophrictus Pocock, 1899) as incertae sedis. These genera require re-examination of the type specimens along with examination of new collections from the type locality to revalidate their taxonomic position under Ischnocolinae. Recently, Guadanucci (2011) revalidated the genus Heterophrictus Pocock, 1900 and removed it from the junior synonym of Plesiophrictus; he also provided distinct generic characters for Heterophrictus and Plesiophrictus, which are helpful in the revision of Indian Plesiophrictus. Though the taxonomic position of Heterophrictus is still confusing in the absence of cladistic analysis (R. Raven pers. comm. 7 February 2012), in this paper, we consider Heterophrictus a valid genus until further cladistic analysis (based on more specimens) is published.

Revalidating the taxonomic position of the Indian Ischnocolus spp. (Araneae: Theraphosidae)

Manju Siliwal ,2009

The two Indian Ischnolocus species, I. decoratus and I. khasiensis are transferred to the genus Chilobrachys Karsch, 1891 based on presence and pattern of stridulatory setae on maxillae and chelicerae. Further, Ischnocolus decoratus is synonymised with Chilobrachys fimbriatus Pocock, 1899.

A new species of the genus Plesiophrictus (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Ischnocolinae) from western Ghats, India

Manju Siliwal, Sanjay Molur, Robert John Raven ,2007

The genus Plesiophrictus belongs to the subfamily Ischnocolinae of the mygalomorph family Theraphosidae and is reported from China, India, Micronesia and Sri Lanka (Platnick, 2007). Amongst the Indian genera of the family Theraphosidae, Plesiophrictus is a relatively species-rich genus (Siliwal et al., 2005; Siliwal & Molur, 2007). Pocock (1899) established the genus Plesiophrictus with description of three species, P. millardi and P. collinus from India and P. tenuipes from Sri Lanka, assigning P. millardi as the type species. Later, a number of new species were described from India under this genus (Pocock, 1900; Gravely, 1915, 1935; Tikader, 1977). After the establishment of the genus Plesiophrictus, the two Indian species, Ischnocolus linteatus Simon, 1891 and Stichoplastus fabrei Simon, 1892 were transferred to this genus by Pocock (1900) and Simon (1903), respectively. This genus was considered endemic to South Asia until the Micronesian species Ischnocolella senffti Strand, 1907 was transferred to this genus by Roewer (1963). Recently, Yin & Tan (2000) described a new species, P. guangxiensis from China. Till date, 16 species have been reported under this genus from the world, of which 13 are endemic to India, one endemic each to China and Sri Lanka and one endemic to the islands of Micronesia (a conglomerate of 9 countries) (Platnick, 2007). Most of the species described from India are known only from the type localities; information on range and geographical variations are limited. More than fifty percent of the species were described a century ago based on very few morphological characters, missing details used in present day taxonomy like morphometry of legs, description of genital structure especially of female, illustrations, sternum, male palp and female spermatheca (see Simon, 1891, 1892; Pocock, 1899, 1900; Strand, 1907; Gravely, 1915, 1935). The more recent descriptions of P. meghalayaensis and P. mahabaleshwari by Tikader (1977) are also incomplete as they lack morphometry of legs, comparison with other species and diagnosis for the species. This paper is an effort to describe a new species based on a female specimen after comparing the available prominent characters with other known species. The objective of this paper is not only to describe a new species, but also provide South Asian arachnologists with a standard description pattern on theraphosids or any mygalomorph spider along with pictures (see Images in the web supplement) in addition to figures as a useful tool for comparative studies. None of the past descriptions of Plesiophrictus spp. includes notes on natural history or ecology, which we have added as noted during our study.

Distribution of the Regal Parachute Spider Poecilotheria regalis Pocock, 1899

B.A. Daniel, Manju Siliwal ,2004

Record of Poecilotheria regalis Pocock, 1899 from Nallamala Hills, Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh

K. Thulsi Rao, M Prudhvi Raju, I. Siva Rama Krishna, S.M. Maqsood Javed, Manju Siliwal, Chelmala Srinivasulu ,2004

Zoo Outreach Organisation; www.zoosprint.org 1668 The Nallamala (15 0 20'-16 0 31'N & 78 0 30'-80 0 10'E) is a group of low hill ranges in the central part of Eastern Ghats. It is an unbroken chain of rugged hills spread over 7,640km 2 (Srinivasulu & Nagulu, 2002). The vegetation is typically of southern tropical dry deciduous and southern tropical moist deciduous forest types intermingled with scrub (Champion & Seth, 1968). The climate is generally hot and dry with temperature rising up to 43 0 C to 45 0 C during May and dips down to 8 0 C in December. Average rainfall in this region is between 900 to l,000mm. It includes two protected areas, namely the Nagarjuanasagar Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary and the Gundla Brahmeshwaram Metta Wildlife Sanctuary. Surveys were carried out in selected locations of Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve) from December 2001 onwards to document the faunal diversity. During the survey we sighted Poecilotheria regalis Pocock, 1899 in different locations. To study these large bodied spiders we basically relied on indirect evidence including exuvia and silk lined burrows/holes on tree trunks.