Compiler and date details
30 June 2003 - Mark S. Harvey, Western Australia Museum, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
The Palpigradi is one of the smallest arachnid orders, and fewer than 80 species have been described worldwide. Recent forms are placed in two families, Eukoeneniidae and Prokoeneniidae (Condé 1996). A third family, Sternarthronidae, is known only from a single, extinct species from the Jurassic of Germany.
Palpigrades are very small, pale, fragile animals confined to soil and to soil-rock interfaces. They have been recorded from most continents, but the majority are known from Europe and Africa. The only species known from Australia, Eukoenenia mirabilis (Grassi & Calandruccio) and E. florenciae (Berlese), are introduced. However, an apparently endemic palpigrade was collected recently in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, hinting at an endemic fauna in Australia's tropical north.
The meagre Australian fauna was first catalogued by Harvey (1985). Harvey (2003) has provided a complete catalogue to the world fauna of this order.
The information on the Australian Faunal Directory site for the Palpigradi is derived from the Zoological Catalogue of Australia database compiled on the Platypus software program. It incorporates changes made to the work published on 9 September 1985 as (Harvey, M.S., 1985).
Distribution data in the Directory is by political and geographic region descriptors and serves as a guide to the distribution of a taxon. For details of a taxon's distribution, the reader should consult the cited references (if any) at genus and species levels.
Australia is defined as including Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., Cocos (Keeling) Ils, Christmas Is., Ashmore and Cartier Ils, Macquarie Is., Australian Antarctic Territory, Heard and McDonald Ils, and the waters associated with these land areas of Australian political responsibility. Political areas include the adjacent waters.
Terrestrial geographical terms are based on the drainage systems of continental Australia, while marine terms are self explanatory except as follows: the boundary between the coastal and oceanic zones is the 200 m contour; the Arafura Sea extends from Cape York to 124 DEG E; and the boundary between the Tasman and Coral Seas is considered to be the latitude of Fraser Island, also regarded as the southern terminus of the Great Barrier Reef.
Distribution records, if any, outside of these areas are listed as extralimital. The distribution descriptors for each species are collated to genus level. Users are advised that extralimital distribution for some taxa may not be complete.
Condé, B. 1996. Les Palpigrades, 1885-1995: acquisitions et lacunes. Revue Suisse de Zoologie Hors série 1: 87-106
Harvey, M.S. 1985. Palpigradi. pp. 158-159 in Walton, D.W. (ed.). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 3. Arachnida: Mygalomorphae, Araneomorphae (in part), Pseudoscorpionida, Amblypygi and Palpigradi. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service 183 pp.
Harvey, M.S. 2003. Order Palpigradi. pp. 149–174 in, Catalogue of the Smaller Arachnid Orders of the World: Amblypygi, Uropygi, Schizomida, Palpigradi, Ricinulei and Solifugae. Collingwood, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing. 385 pp.