Archive for February 4th, 2016


johnny-cash-tarantula-2 (1)

Abstract

This systematic study documents the taxonomy, diversity, and distribution of the tarantula spider genusAphonopelma Pocock, 1901 within the United States. By employing phylogenomic, morphological, and geospatial data, we evaluated all 55 nominal species in the United States to examine the evolutionary history of Aphonopelma and the group’s taxonomy by implementing an integrative approach to species delimitation. Based on our analyses, we now recognize only 29 distinct species in the United States. We propose 33 new synonymies (A. apacheum, A. minchi, A. rothi, A. schmidti, A. stahnkei = A. chalcodes; A.arnoldi = A. armada; A. behlei, A. vogelae = A. marxi; A. breenei = A. anax; A. chambersi, A. clarum, A.cryptethum, A. sandersoni, A. sullivani = A. eutylenum; A. clarki, A. coloradanum, A. echinum, A. gurleyi, A.harlingenum, A. odelli, A. waconum, A. wichitanum = A. hentzi; A. heterops = A. moderatum; A. jungi, A.punzoi = A. vorhiesi; A. brunnius, A. chamberlini, A. iviei, A. lithodomum, A. smithi, A. zionis = A. iodius; A.phanum, A. reversum = A. steindachneri), 14 new species (A. atomicumsp. n., A. catalinasp. n., A.chiricahuasp. n., A. icenogleisp. n., A. johnnycashisp. n., A. maderasp. n., A. marekisp. n., A. moellendorfisp. n., A. parvumsp. n., A. peloncillosp. n., A. prenticeisp. n., A. saguarosp. n., A. superstitionensesp. n., and A. xwalxwalsp. n.), and seven nomina dubia (A. baergi, A. cratium, A. hollyi, A. mordax, A. radinum, A.rusticum, A. texense). Our proposed species tree based on Anchored Enrichment data delimits five major lineages: a monotypic group confined to California, a western group, an eastern group, a group primarily distributed in high-elevation areas, and a group that comprises several miniaturized species. Multiple species are distributed throughout two biodiversity hotspots in the United States (i.e., California Floristic Province and Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands). Keys are provided for identification of both males and females. By conducting the most comprehensive sampling of a single theraphosid genus to date, this research significantly broadens the scope of prior molecular and morphological investigations, finally bringing a modern understanding of species delimitation in this dynamic and charismatic group of spiders.

Awesome …

URL http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=6264

See also the National Geographic article at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160204-animals-spiders-tarantulas-science-nation/

LiveScience review at http://www.livescience.com/53616-tarantula-named-for-johnny-cash.html

cryptomaster-daddylonglegs

Scientists have unearthed a monstrous new arachnid lurking in the woods of southwest Oregon — and it’s a beast.

The new daddy longlegs species, dubbed Cryptomaster behemoth,towers over other creatures of its kind. And like its cousin, the equally elusive Cryptomaster leviathan, the new species is incredibly difficult to find, because it hides out beneath the logs and leafy debris that blanket the forest floor.

The Cryptomaster leviathan was discovered in 1969 at one location in the coastal town of Gold Beach, Oregon. The mysterious creature belonged to one of the most diverse suborders, called Laniatores, which contains at least 4,100 species. (Daddy longlegs belong to the arachnid order commonly known as harvestmen, so-called because they often emerge during the fall months during the harvest.