Mesabolivar togatus ( Keyserling, 1891 )

Huber, Bernhard A., 2018, The South American spider genera Mesabolivar and Carapoia (Araneae, Pholcidae): new species and a framework for redrawing generic limits, Zootaxa 4395 (1), pp. 1-178: 39-43

publication ID

publication LSID

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Mesabolivar togatus ( Keyserling, 1891 )


Mesabolivar togatus ( Keyserling, 1891) 

Figs 138–139View FIGURES 138–149, 150–152View FIGURES150–155, 156–159View FIGURES156–164, 188–190View FIGURES188–199

Pholcus togatus Keyserling, 1891: 172  , pl. 5, figs 118, 118a–c (♂, Brazil: Rio de Janeiro).

Coryssocnemis togatus  /-a: Moenkhaus 1898: 95. Mello-Leitão 1918: 103. (Both authors just translated Keyserling’s original description; Mello-Leitão added poorly specified records; see Notes below).

Pholcus coeruleus Keyserling, 1891: 171  , pl. 5, figs 116, 116a (♀, Brazil: Rio de Janeiro). Synonymized in Huber 2000: 219.

Blechroscelis coruleus  / coerulea: Moenkhaus 1898: 101  . Mello-Leitão 1918: 108. (Both authors just translated Keyserling’s original description).

Psilochorus fluminensis Mello-Leitão, 1918: 98  –99, figs 10–11 (♂♀, Brazil: Rio de Janeiro). Transferred to Mesabolivar in Huber 2000: 191  . First synonymized in Machado 2007: 84 (not formally published). New synonymy (see Notes below).

Blechroscelis aurantia Mello-Leitão, 1940c: 210  (♀, Brazil: Rio de Janeiro). Transferred to Mesabolivar in Huber 2000: 191  . First synonymized in Machado 2007: 84 (not formally published). New synonymy (see Notes below).

Mesabolivar togatus: Huber 2000: 219  –222, figs 851–863 (Brazil: Rio de Janeiro). Machado 2007: 85 (Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, São Paulo). Huber & Rheims 2011: 281 (Rio de Janeiro).

Possible and probable misidentifications

Blechroscelis coerulea  /-us: Mello-Leitão 1940a: 21 (Brazil: Pará). Mello-Leitão 1947b: 233 (Brazil: Paraná). See Notes below. Mesabolivar togatus: Machado 2007: 85  (Brazil: Bahia, Sergipe) (see M. baianus  below). Astrin et al. 2006: 444 (specimens from Taiobeiras only; see M. baianus  below).

Notes. I have not seen Mello-Leitão’s (1918) specimens from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. His records may be correct but no locality data beyond states are given. On the other hand, his later records from Pará and Paraná ( Mello-Leitão 1940a, 1947b) are here considered dubious. Extensive recent collections from along the entire Brazilian Atlantic Forest from Rio Grande do Sul to Rio Grande do Norte as well as from Pará do not include M. togatus  south of São Paulo state and north of Espírito Santo state. Pará in particular is far from the confirmed range of this species. The Paraná records might be valid but need confirmation. The specimens from Bahia and Sergipe listed in Machado (2007) were not checked but are likely to represent the similar new species M. baianus  rather than M. togatus  ( Fig. 726View FIGURES726–729).

The synonymy of Psilochorus fluminensis Mello-Leitão, 1918  (from Rio de Janeiro, Pinheiro, 22.52°S, 44.00°W) with Mesabolivar togatus  was first suggested by Machado (2007), based on the apophyses of the male chelicerae. The types are apparently lost ( Silva Moreira et al. 2010) but the distribution data of M. togatus  and its most similar congeners ( Figs 726, 727View FIGURES726–729) further support this synonymy.

The situation is more complicated with M. aurantius (Mello-Leitão, 1940)  , originating from Rio de Janeiro, Goytacazes [21.83°S, 41.27°W]. In a previous revision I reported on a vial in MNRJAbout MNRJ with the correct collection number 58250 (Huber 2000: 191); it contained a penultimate female. Later, Machado (2007) reported on a vial with the same collection number, containing an adult female that he found to be identical to M. togatus  . Even though Mello-Leitão described a very different epigynum (“muito alto, bicorne” = “very high, with two horns”), Machado (2007) considered this discrepancy to be overruled by the Code ( ICZN 1999, Art. 61). In 2010, the female holotype was considered lost ( Silva Moreira et al. 2010). The identity of the holotype appears unsolvable, so I adopt Machado’s (2007) decision here as I did previously (Huber 2015).

Finally, M. nigridentis (Mello-Leitão, 1922)  from Maranhão, Pindaré (3.664°S, 45.425°W), was also synonymized with M. togatus in Machado (2007)  , based on Mello-Leitão’s description of the male chelicerae (the types are apparently lost; Silva Moreira et al. 2010). However, the oblique pair of apophyses is not a character unique to M. togatus  , and distribution data of M. togatus  and its most similar congeners ( Figs 726, 727View FIGURES726–729) strongly argue against this synonymy. Thus, M. nigridentis  is here considered a valid species.

Diagnosis. Distinguished from most known congeners by armature of male chelicerae (Huber 2000; fig. 860; Figs 150–152View FIGURES150–155; two pairs of frontal apophyses, one oblique pair distally and one strongly projecting pair proximally), by shape of procursus (Huber 2000: figs 856–857, Figs 158–159View FIGURES156–164; widely curved, distal prolateral process and membranous structures), and shape of epigynum (Huber 2000: figs 862–863, Figs 156–157View FIGURES156–164; oval anterior plate with posterior margin divided into three lobes by whitish membrane); from the very similar M. baianus  by details of distal cheliceral apophyses (larger angle between outer margins in frontal view; barely visible in lateral view; compare Figs 150–155View FIGURES150–155), and by shapes of lobes on anterior epigynal plate (median lobe wider; lateral lobes narrower; compare Figs 156, 157 and 162, 164View FIGURES156–164).

Type material. Pholcus togatus Keyserling, 1891  : BRAZIL: Rio de Janeiro: 2♂ syntypes, BMNH (1890.7.1.8328), Fazenda Sergio Potta de Castro [Miracema, 21.413°S, 42.196°W?], leg. E.A. Göldi, examined (Huber 2000).GoogleMaps 

Pholcus coeruleus Keyserling, 1891  : BRAZIL: Rio de Janeiro: ♀ holotype, BMNH, no further locality data, leg. E.A. Göldi, examined (Huber 2000). 

Psilochorus fluminensis Mello-Leitão, 1918  : BRAZIL: Rio de Janeiro: Unspecified number of ♂ and ♀ syntypes, apparently lost (see Notes above), Pinheiro [= Pinheiral according to Silva Moreira et al. 2010; 22.52°S, 44.00°W], no further data.

Blechroscelis aurantia Mello-Leitão, 1940  : BRAZIL: Rio de Janeiro: ♀ holotype, apparently lost (see Notes above), Goytacazes [21.83°S, 41.27°W], 1936–1937 (M. Rosa).GoogleMaps 

New records. BRAZIL: Rio de Janeiro: 18♂ 6♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19014), Cachoeiras de Macacu , Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçú (22°24.4’–25.3’S, 42°44.2’–44.3’W), 140–280 m a.s.l., 23.ix.2009 (B.A. Huber, A. Giupponi)  ; 3♂ 1♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK ( Ar 19015–16), same data but 25.ix.2009 (B.A. Huber)  ; 1♂ 1♀ in pure ethanol, ZFMKAbout ZFMK ( Br 09-97), same data but 23–24.ix.2009 (B.A. Huber)  ; 7♂ 11♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK ( Ar 19017), same locality at 22°24.3’S, 42°44.1’W, ~ 300–400 m a.s.l., 24.ix.2009 (B.A. Huber, A. Giupponi)GoogleMaps  ; 1♂ 1♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19018), Cachoeiras de Macacu, forest fragment near Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçú (~ 22°24’S, 42°44’W), ~ 300 m a.s.l., 24.ix.2009 (A. Giupponi)GoogleMaps  ; 8♂ 19♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19019–20), Santa Maria Madalena , forest fragment (21°58.9–59.1’S, 41°57.2– 57.6’W), 480–590 m a.s.l., 30.ix.–1.x.2010 (B.A. Huber, A. Pérez-González)  . 3♂ 4♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19021), Reserva Ecológica Rio das Pedras (22°59.5’S, 44°06.0’–06.8’W), 50–200 m a.s.l., day, 26.ix.2009 (B.A. Huber)  ; 1♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK ( Ar 19022), same data but 26.ix.2009 (A. Giupponi, A. Kury)  ; 2♂ in pure ethanol, ZFMKAbout ZFMK ( Br 09-111), same data but 25–26.ix.2009 (B.A. Huber)  . 2♂ 4♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19023), Paraty, degraded forest near Morro do Forte (23°11.7’S, 44°42.8’W), ~ 10–30 m a.s.l., 23.viii.2007 (B.A. Huber)GoogleMaps  ; 3♀ in pure ethanol, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Br 07/100-30), same dataGoogleMaps  ; 1♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19024), ~ 3.5 km NW Paraty (23°11.5’S, 44°43.9’W), degraded forest, ~ 50 m a.s.l., 21.viii.2007 (B.A. Huber)GoogleMaps  ; 1♂ 3♀ in pure ethanol, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Br 07/100-16), same dataGoogleMaps  . 3♀ in pure ethanol ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Br 07/100-28), Cachoeira da Pedra Branca near Paraty (23°11.8’S, 44°46.0’W), forest near river, ~ 230 m a.s.l., 22.viii.2007 (B.A. Huber).GoogleMaps 

Espírito Santo: 13♂ 6♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19025), Mimoso do Sul, Finca Tacutinga , forest fragment (21°01.4’S, 41°23.4’W), 240 m a.s.l., 4.x.2010 (B.A. Huber, A. Pérez-González)GoogleMaps  ; 1♂ 1♀ 1 juv. in pure ethanol, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Br 10- 92), same dataGoogleMaps  .

São Paulo: 10♂ 7♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19026), São Paulo, Jardim Zoológico de São Paulo (23.65°S, 46.62°W), 13.xii.2003 (B.A. Huber)GoogleMaps  ; 5♂ 3♀ in pure ethanol, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Br 03/100-29), same dataGoogleMaps  .

Assigned tentatively. BRAZIL: Espírito Santo: 3♂ 7♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19027), Reserva Biológica Córrego do Veado , ‘site 1’ (18°22.1’S, 40°08.3’W), ~ 80 m a.s.l., 29.ix.2011 (B.A. Huber, A. Pérez-González)GoogleMaps  ; 3♂ 4♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK ( Ar 19028), same data but ‘site 2’ (18°21.7’S, 40°10.0’W), ~ 90 m a.s.lGoogleMaps  . 10♂ 15♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Ar 19029), Reserva Biológica de Sooretama , ‘site 1’ (19°03.3’S, 40°08.8’W), ~ 90 m a.s.l., 27.ix.2011 (B.A. Huber, A. Pérez- González)GoogleMaps  ; 1♂ 1♀ 5 juvs in pure ethanol, ZFMKAbout ZFMK (Br 11-128), same dataGoogleMaps  ; 4♂ 4♀, ZFMKAbout ZFMK ( Ar 19030), same data but ‘site 2’ (19°00.7’S, 40°06.5’W), ~ 80 m a.s.l., 28.ix.2011.GoogleMaps 

Description (amendments; see Huber 2000). Tibia 1 in 72 newly examined males: 11.6–18.0 (mean 15.6); in 79 newly examined females: 9.1–14.7 (mean 11.7). Femora 2 and 3 in most males much wider than other femora, in some barely wider (e.g.: male 1: tibia 1 16.7, femora 1–4 diameters 0.24, 0.39, 0.35, 0.24; male 2: tibia 1 17.9, femora 1–4 diameters 0.22, 0.25, 0.31, 0.22; male 3: tibia 1 13.5, femora 1–4 diameters 0.19, 0.20, 0.20, 0.19). Prolateral trichobothrium present on tibia 1. Slight variation in male chelicerae: distal apophyses sometimes proximally slightly wider (São Paulo, male from forest fragment near Guapiaçú); proximal apophyses proximally sometimes thicker (Paraty, Rio das Pedras, Sooretama, Corrego do Veado; Fig. 152View FIGURES150–155). Procursus tip varies slightly and may be indistinguishable from that of M. baianus  , but membranous dorsal flap appears to be consistently indistinct (arrow in Fig. 158View FIGURES156–164). Epigynal median flap consistently wide, but slightly rounder in specimens from northern Espírito Santo (Córrego do Veado, Sooretama; Figs 157View FIGURES156–164, 190View FIGURES188–199). Lateral lobes in these specimens also slightly different (wider than usual); therefore, specimens from these two localities are assigned tentatively.

Natural history. This was often the seemingly most abundant pholcid species. In a quantitative survey at Pedra Branca State Park, Rio de Janeiro, M. togatus  was the second most abundant spider species, outnumbered only by another pholcid species, Carapoia lutea (Castanheira et al. 2016)  . The spiders were collected from large webs (up to 60 cm diameter) among tree buttresses, rocks, logs, and in cavities of road cuts, usually up to 50 cm above the ground. There seemed to be no or a very limited tangle of lines above the sheet. During the day, the spiders were found resting on the rock/tree/soil surface, not in the dome.

Distribution. Widely distributed in the Brazilian states São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Espírito Santo ( Fig. 726View FIGURES726–729). For dubious records from other states, see Notes above.


Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro


Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig














Mesabolivar togatus ( Keyserling, 1891 )

Huber, Bernhard A. 2018


Pholcus togatus

Keyserling, 1891 : 172


Coryssocnemis togatus

Moenkhaus 1898 : 95


Pholcus coeruleus

Keyserling, 1891 : 171


Blechroscelis coruleus

Moenkhaus 1898 : 101


Blechroscelis aurantia Mello-Leitão, 1940c : 210

Mello-Leitão, 1940c : 210