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Systematic news (2007)

2004 2005 2006 2007




Maybe the least, but indeed very important of the news for the passed 2007 Year - a good point for the taxonomy of the one of the messiest theraphosid groups - genus Aphonopelma was published in Univercity of Kanzas as a master of science thesis  by Elisabeth Murray.

She has revised the "Aphonopelma hentzi - complex" using the morphological and molecular data, has examine over the 130 specimens of the entire area known for the "hentzi-like" looking tarantula species known mostly from the single or a couple of the spiders in description,  and follows the rezult in synonymization of the following species: A. baergi, A. clarki, A. gurleyi, A. odelli, A. waconum and A. wiichitanum with the A. hentzi.

No matter does this rezult would be accepted officially or not this is indeed a very important sign for the taxonomy of the theraphosids of the USA.


0.1. The new one species has been described by Czech arachnologist Radan Kaderka, who has the emphasis in his study of theraphosine tarantulas.

He described the previousely known in hobby tarantula  Cyriocosmus sp. from Bolivia, which is the biggest species of the genus (Kaderka, Radan (2007) Cyriocosmus perezmilesi sp. n. from Bolivia (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Theraphosinae). Revista Ibérica de Aracnología, Vol. 14).

According to the mentioned paper Cyriocosmus perezmilesi sp. n. from Bolivia, Beni province, is described, diagnosed and keyed inside the inner group of Cyriocosmus Simon 1903 which is represented by species with reduced paraembolic apophysis in male palpal bulb structures. The new species can be distinguished from all other cogeners, except C. blenginii Pérez-Miles 1998, by uniformly coloured carapace and lateral four-striped pattern on abdomen. C. perezmilesi sp. n. differs from C. blenginii by presence of the reduced paraembolic apophysis and bicolour femora (reddish brown, distally black).

1. The new species Acanthoscurria hirsutissimasterni Schmidt, 2007 has been described from the Argentina (Schmidt, G. E. W. (2007a). Acanthoscurria hirsutissimasterni sp. n., eine bisher oft mit A. sternalis Pocock, 1903 verwechselte Vogelspinne aus Argentinien (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Theraphosinae). Tarantulas of the World 125/126: 3-7).

2. The Brazilian theraphosidologist JOSÉ PAULO LEITE GUADANUCCI (Universidade de São Paulo) has revisited the genera Olygoxystre Vellard 1924 and published the following paper: Guadanucci, J. P. L. 2007: A revision of the Neotropical spider genus Oligoxystre Vellard, 1924 (Theraphosidae, Ischnocolinae). Zootaxa, 1555: 1-20.

In this paper the genus Oligoxystre Vellard 1924 is revised. Pseudoligoxystre Vol 2001 is synonymized with Oligoxystre and its typespecies, P. bolivianum Vol 2001, is considered valid. The type-specimen of Oligoxystre auratum Vellard 1924, type-species by original designation, is considered lost. No additional material matching the original description was found and therefore the species is diagnosed from the original description. Four new species, all from Brazil, are also described: O. caatinga, O. dominguense, O. tucuruiense, and O. rufoniger. Data on natural history of O. bolivianum from field and captivity observations are presented. The genus Cenobiopelma Mello-Leitão & Arlé, 1934 is based upon Cenobiopelma mimeticum Mello-Leitão & Arlé, 1934 for which no type was ever designated and hence both are considered nomina nuda.

3. Latest news was reported by it's authors at 17th International Conference of Arachnology in Brazil and soon should be published with more details.

As a brief summary we know that Brazilian arachnologists Rafael P. Indicatti, Sylvia M. Lucas, José Paulo L. Guadanucci e Flavio U. Yamamoto revalidate the genus Magulla Simon, 1892 which was synonymised to Cyclosternum Ausserer, 1871 by Rob Raven in 1985.

The genus can by recognized by the following features: shortened metatarsi and tarsi I-II, rounded carapace slightly raised between thoracic fovea and cephalic region, rounded sternum, urticating hairs type IV disposed in a central patch and type III in two smaller anterior patches, stridulatory apparatus absent.
Males can be distinguished by the long embolus with superior and inferior prolateral keels, those of which can be slightly or well developed and by the tibial apophysis formed by two distinct branches. Females can be distinguished by the seminal receptacle bearing a long neck, with slightly dilated apex which presents a ventral loop in lateral view.
The type species, a female of Magulla obesa Simon, 1892 is redescribed and the male is described for the first time.

Species Magulla janeirus (Keyserling) is considered a species inquirenda. Magulla symmetrica Bücherl (holotype female) is transferred to Plesiopelma Pocock, and considered a junior synonym of P. insulare (Mello-Leitão) and the male, described by Bücherl, is described as a new species - Magulla buercheli n. sp. from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Additionally, another new species is described from São Francisco de Paula, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil - Magulla brescoviti n. sp.

   4. Below are some another recent theraphosids news which were annonced by the authors at 17th International Conference of Arachnology in Brazil (in press., if another not stated).

   4.1.  Among the all theraphosid groups it is possible that aviculariines, especially genus Avicularia is the messiest and hard or cannot be identified at all, as they were already described (as the now revised Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest species group) during the XIX century and remains yet poorly known together with the lack of specimens sampling (no type depository) and not any recollection till nowadays.

 As a result there is 29 species has considered “nomina dubia” (described in 1805-1889). Long time there’re no any revisions were made of the genus with exception of the several sparse species descriptions which validity are mostly too questionable that just add another mess to this tangible group.

Thus, the recent work announced at the 17th International Congress of Arachnology by great Brazilian theraphosidologist doctor Rogerio Bertani (Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, Brazil) is really a good start and a fresh breath given to all who interested in this group, as most representatives of the subfamily Aviculariinae are the most desirable arboreal pet-tarantulas.

According the Bertani’s report the following study was conducted and results produced (in press.). Four genera which ranges distributed on the different regions of Brazil were detected; the geographic distribution mapped and biological and ecological data was also collected.

1) Typhochlaena C. L. Koch (to be revalidated) with T. seladonia C. L. Koch as a type species and 2 new species from Brazil. Which unlike most Aviculariinae (excluding genus Ephebopus) makes their retreats under loosen bark of trees;

2) Genus Pachistopelma Pocock, with a single species: P. rufonigrum Pocock living exclusively only inside bromeliad epiphytic plants;

3) Iridopelma Pocock, with I. hirsutum Pocock, I. zorodes Mello-Leitão and a new Brazilian species;

4) And finally, genus Avicularia Lamarck, with A. diversipes C. L. Koch and a new species from Brazil. The representatives of these two last genera (3, 4) live on the vegetation, where they make retreats with silk and leaves.

Into those 4 genera the following transfers and synonymizations were made. Avicularia palmicola Mello-Leitão considering a junior synonym of Iridopelma hirsutum. Avicularia pulchra Mello-Leitão and A. recifiensis Struchen & Brändle, are junior synonyms of P. rufonigrum. Avicularia gracilis (Keyserling) and A. leporina (C. L. Koch) are considered ”nomina dubia”.

   4.2. Another little but valid point to the genus Avicularia Lamarck has also has been made by the same Rogerio Bertani this time together with another 2 Brazilian researchers, the famous Fukushima, C.S. and less known to public Nagahama R.H.

    They provide the following findings and information that recently, specimens of a small theraphosid spider resembling an old species described originally as Mygale brunnipes C. L. Koch (now is a member of Avicularia genus as “nomem dubium”) were collected in the northeastern Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

   C. L. Koch in his original description possess the figure presents a very characteristic coloration to the species, which is found in the individuals that were collected in the states of Paraíba, Alagoas and Pernambuco, Brazil.

   The species resembles Plesiopelma and Homoeomma by the genitalia shape, but differs from Plesiopelma by lacking the metatarsus I protuberance in males and from Homoeomma by lacking the digital apophysis on the male palpal bulb. Furthermore, contrary to these two genera that have a metatarsus I folding between the two branches of the tibial apophysis, in this species the metatarsus I folds against the retrolateral branch tip.

   The authors also made a preliminary cladistic analysis including Avicularia brunnipes, Plesiopelma spp., Homoeomma spp., Cyriocosmus spp., Hapalopus spp., Euathlus sp. and Grammostola sp. which clearly shows that the species should be redescribed, removed from the Aviculariinae and included in a new genus in Theraphosidae.

    4.3. As being the mess though all these year the theraphosid taxonomy is starting to achieve and develop just on the modern time. But still we can consider it just to begin standing on the actual way and proper level (with some exclusion sometimes happened). Several recent years arachnologists start to clean up the mess, and, instead of describing new and new species for pet-trade and their honor, as it was time before, started to conduct the revisions and serious long-term studies with the review of types of some genera and subfamilies (Gallon, von Wirth, Striffler, Fukushima, Bertani; Guadanucci, Smith, Perez-Miles, Longhorn, Gabriel, other). 

    As it was stated above, many (in fact most) of the genera, belonging to the subfamily Theraphosinae, need to be revised. The bigger terrestrial tarantulas of the genus Lasiodora C. L. KOCH 1850 inhabiting South American region are by far not the exclusion to the rule since the genus was not revised for long time and most of the species described decades ago.

    Thus is one of the remarkable activities of Brazilian theraphosidologist Rogerio Bertani include the revision of these giants in theraphosid world as one of the species – Lasiodora parahybana pretends on the wining palm of the world record holder.

     Nowadays the genus includes 38 species and one subspecies (most are representatives of the Brazilian rainforests). Some systematic and taxonomy data had been investigated and according the official materials of the 17th ICA the following data has been announced by the author.Six species are considered valid, all them distributed only in Brazil: L. isabellina(synonyms: L. benedeni Bertkau, L. curtior Chamberlin, L. differens Chamberlin, L. cristata Mello-Leitão, L. difficilis Mello-Leitão and L. mariannae Mello-Leitão), L. itabunae Mello-Leitão, L. subcanens Mello-Leitão, L. parahybana Mello-Leitão and L. klugi C. L. Koch.

    A new species was detected and is described.

    L. lakoi Mello-Leitão belongs to the genus Megaphobema and L. spinipes Ausserer to Theraphosa. L. sternalis Mello-Leitão is a synonym of Acanthoscurria gomesiana Mello-Leitão.

    The following species are considered “nomina dubia”, since the types could not be located and the descriptions are insuficient for allowing identification: L. acanthognatha Mello-Leitão, L. boliviana (Simon), L. citharacantha Mello-Leitão, L. cryptostigma Mello-Leitão, L. dolichosterna Mello-Leitão, L. dulcicola Mello-Leitão, L. erythrocythara Mello-Leitão, L. fallax (Bertkau), L. fracta Mello-Leitão, L. moreni (Holmberg), L. pantherina (Keyserling), L. pleoplectra Mello-Leitão, L. saeva (Walckenaer) and L. striatipes (Ausserer).

    Species from Central America and Venezuela will be transferred to other genera, mainly to Hapalopus Ausserer.

   4.4. Another one mess is the representatives of other giant South American spider of the fauna of the Globe – Pamphobeteus Pocock, 1901. These massive, not very well established in hobby tarantulas, are close relatives to the above mention genus Lasiodora C. L. KOCH 1850 from which it distinguished by the absence of both a scopula on the inferior side of the femur of the first leg and stridulatory organ on the anterior side of the coax of the first leg and on posterior side of the palpal coxa.

The ten species nowadays accepted in the genus (P. antinous, P. augusti, P. ferox, P. fortis, P. insignis, P. nigricolor, P. ornatus, P. petersi, P. ultramarinus and P. vespertinus) are distributed in northerwestern South American. The genus is more specious in Colombia and Ecuador, in the Andes mountain range and none species of Pamphobeteus was yet recorded for Brazil.

Thus, according to the announce by the work of the Brazilian arachnologists - Bertani, R.; C.S. Fukushima and P.I. Silva Júnior, they describe two new Pamphobeteus species from northwestern Brazil (the first species described from Brazil - states of Acre, Rondônia, Mato Grosso and Amazonas) and gave a record for P. nigricolor in the state of Amazonas. The new species are closely related to P. antinous due to the wide concave/convex embolus shape and the huge size of the specimens.

A different stridulatory organ consisting of spiniform setae were observed in all coxae of legs and stridulation of the hind legs, was recorded, videotaped and is described.

4.5. So, now the famous German theraphosidologists, who has revising the Asiatic fauna of tarantulas together with some other great arachnologists for last several years, Volker von Wirth, as a part of his further subfamily Ornithoctoninae revision (as a part of all Oriental fauna revision, in its turn), with another one German arachnologists, Boris Striffler, who is also a World leading expert in scorpion fauna, reported about the preliminary study they done, review the situation with the taxonomy of the Oriental theraphosid fauna as no any of the representatives ever been revisited, and given the data and modern status of the genus Ornithoctonus Pocock, 1892 as the type genus of the subfamily.

This study they conducted redefines the generic characters of genus Ornithoctonus, describes its known and two new species, maps their distribution and provides an identification key.

The genus Ornithoctonus currently consists of three described species (Ornithoctonus andersoni POCOCK, 1892 (type species); Ornithoctonus aureotibialis VON WIRTH & STRIFFLER, 2005 and Ornithoctonus costalis (SCHMIDT, 1998) and is distributed in northern to central region of the Malay Peninsula (Thailand and Myanmar).

The distribution range of Ornithoctonus lies south of the closely related Haplopelma Simon, 1892. Both can easily be told apart by male bulb, stridulatory organ and leg spination. 

      4.6. Another one big contribution to theraphosid science was done by the international collective of well-known to the tarantula related public authors: Canadian Rick C. West, American Samuel D. Marshall and Brazilians C.S. Fukushima and Rogerio Bertani. 

      They provide the revision of the avicularrine genus Ephebopus Simon, 1892 which is also not revised for along time. Authors describe the history of the group, its systematic status, analyzed types and descriptions, made phylogeny and cladystic analysis etc.

      As a preliminary result they possessed the following: genus has as synapomorphy of the presence of a pad of urticating hairs type V on the prolateral distal area of the pedipalps, a feature unique in spiders. The genus is distributed in northeastern South America: Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The genus Ephebopus comprises the following species: E. murinus, E. uatuman, E. cyanognathus, E. rufescens and a new species from Guyana (in press.).

     Ephebopus violaceus Mello-Leitão, 1930 shall be transferred to Tapinauchenius violaceus (Mello-Leitão, 1930) and is considered a senior synonym of Tapinauchenius purpureus Schmidt, 1995. Ephebopus fossor Pocock, 1903 is considered “nomem dubium”.

     A cladistic analysis with 21 taxa and 57 characters was done and included representatives of seven of the eight theraphosid subfamilies showed that Aviculariinae shall be monophyletic and include Avicularia Lamarck, Iridopelma Pocock, Pachistopelma Pocock, Tapinauchenius Ausserer, Psalmopoeus Pocock, Ephebopus, Stromatopelma Karsch and Heteroscodra Pocock, having as a synapomorphy the well-developed scopulae on tarsus and metatarsus I-II. The genus Ephebopus is basal in the cladogram of Aviculariinae, which helps to explain its controversial taxonomic position.

    4.7. Aside from the mostly avicularrine and well-known theraphosine taxa examined which study summaries given above there’re also taxonomy and systematic of some other tarantulas were made and announced on 17th ICA.

    One of the bad known theraphosine spiders in hobby and science are tarantulas of the genus Tmesiphantes Simon, 1892, revised again by Brazilians, this time a collective of 4 theraphosidologists: Yamamoto, F.U.; S.M. Lucas; J.P.L. Guadanucci and R.P. Indicatti.

    They reported that Tmesiphantes currently comprises three species from Brazil, T. nubilus Simon, 1892, T. physopus Mello-Leitão, 1926 and T. minensis Mello-Leitão, 1943, and one from Venezuela, T. chickeringi Caporiacco, 1955. (The species Tmesiphantes spinopalpus (Schaefer, 1996) was removed to the genus Cyclosternum by Rudloff, J.-P.  in 2000).


    The genus comprehends medium sized spiders ( mm) with few labial cuspules (up to 30), absence of apical scopula on the metatarsus IV and elongated posterior sternal sigilla away from margin.

     Males can be recognized by the combination of the following characters: morphology of the palpal bulb with conspicuous superior and inferior prolateral keels and a long, curved embolus metatarsus I bending to the retrolateral side of tibial apophysis. Females can be distinguished by the spermathecae slightly constricted near the apex.

     The type species, T. nubilus is redescribed and three new species are described from state of Bahia, Brazil.

     In addition, T. physopus and T. minensis, type-material probably lost, are transferred to Plesiopelma Pocock due to the presence of a metatarsal basal node on leg I and the flexion of metatarsus I between the two branches of tibial apophysis.

     4.8. Another one study, provided by Brazilians Yamamoto, F.U.; A.D. Brescovit and S.M. Lucas concerning the examination of the present material together with the new findings would finalizing by the further description of the new theraphosine genus originated from Brazil.

    Having analyzing the types of the representatives of the genus Homoeomma Ausserer, among other species, authors found that the species Homoeomma simoni (described by Soares & Camargo, based on a male collected in Chavantina, Mato Grosso, Brazil) presents a palpal bulb with different morphology when compared to the other species of the genus, with elongated tegulum and a short embolus.

     H. simoni resembles species of Plesiopelma Pocock, due to the presence of a basal nodule on metatarsus I, though the palpal bulb has different features, not presenting a subapical spine on the embolus.

     It is also similar to Cyriocosmus Simon due to the colored abdomen pattern and the morphology of the palpal bulb, but lacks the paraembolic apophysis, main characteristic of this genus.

     Following the statements above, authors propose a new genus to include H. simoni, additionally with the description of its female, and two new species from states of Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, from the Collection of Instituto Butantan (in press.).

     The new genus is diagnosed by the following features: palpal bulb with elongated tegulum, short and thin embolus, inferior prolateral keel bearing a tooth-like projection on the basis of the embolus and a triangular basal nodule on metatarsus I in males. Females present spermathecae with conspicuous granules, bearing or not numerous globular nodules.  

     4.9. As an addition to the systematic of the Oriental theraphosid fauna the Chinese arachnologists Zhu, M.S. and R. Zhang from Hebei University revised the local Theraphosidae fauna and reported the following.

     All the theraphosid spiders are listed as endangered species in China. 5 genera and 10 species of Theraphosidae are reported from China, including one newly recorded genus and four new species described in their study.

   The genera and species revised by the authors are: genus Citharognathus Pocock, 1895, with one species, C. tongmianensis Zhu, Li et Song, 2002, genus Haplopelma Simon, 1892, with two species, H. hainanum (Liang et al., 1999) and H. schmidti von Wirth, 1991, genus Chilobrachys Karsch, 1891, with three species (in press.), C. hubei Song et Zhao, 1988, C. guangxiensis (Yin et Tan, 2000), which is newly transferred here from the genus Plesiophrictus, and Chilobrachys sp. nov. 1 from Guizhou Province, China, genus Yamia Kishida, 1920, with one species, Y. watasei Kishida, 1920, and genus Selenocosmia Ausserer, 1871, which is recorded from China for the first time, with three new species, one from Hongkong, two from Yunnan.


   The species Chilobrachys jingzhao Zhu, Song et Li, 2001 is considered a junior synonymy of Chilobrachys guangxiensis (Yin et Tan, 2000).