Pholcinae 'group 2'

Huber, Bernhard A., Eberle, Jonas & Dimitrov, Dimitar, 2018, The phylogeny of pholcid spiders: a critical evaluation of relationships suggested by molecular data (Araneae, Pholcidae), ZooKeys 789, pp. 51-101: 68

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Pholcinae 'group 2'


Pholcinae 'group 2'  Figure 9


This operational group (Figure 9 part, i.e., without the ' Spermophora  ' dieke  group and Quamtana  ) is similar to 'group 1' in that it is composed entirely of six-eyed species. It is weakly supported, indicating that the exact placement of its two clades among other Pholcinae  remains dubious. The two clades, however, both receive high to full support in all analyses. The first clade unites the African genera Anansus  Huber, 2007 and Nyikoa  Huber, 2007 with the Madagascan genus Zatavua  Huber, 2003. In a cladistic analysis of morphological characters ( Huber 2007), the group was also recovered (even though as paraphyletic) when using successive character weighting (but not when using equal character weights). The character supporting this close relationship was the proximal cheliceral apophyses that point backwards in Anansus  just as in Nyikoa  and Zatavua  ( Huber 2007). The idea that these genera might be ‘basal’ in Pholcinae  , i.e., sister to all other Pholcinae  ( Huber 2003a, 2007) is not supported by our analyses, but considering the low support values at deeper nodes within the subfamily it is neither strongly contradicted.

The second clade is the New World genus Metagonia  . The genus is species-rich (currently 85 species) and ranges from Argentina to Mexico. The monophyly of the genus has never been seriously contested, and its position among the otherwise almost exclusively Old World Pholcinae  has been strongly supported before, both using morphology ( Huber 2000) and molecules ( Bruvo-Mađarić et al. 2005, Dimitrov et al. 2013). Our analyses include 30 species of Metagonia  , and provide for the first time a test of the operational species groups proposed in Huber (2000: 54-55). Even though those groups were not based on formal cladistic analysis (such an analysis has not yet been performed for Metagonia  ) but on overall and specific similarities, all of them appear mostly or entirely congruent with the present analyses (the only exception is the single aberrant M. globulosa  ). They are listed here in the sequence in which they appear in Figure 9, with newly proposed informal names. (1) taruma  group (group “3” in Huber 2000); a South American group that is here resolved as monophyletic and not as a paraphyletic ‘basal’ group as speculated before ( Huber 2000); (2) petropolis group (no species was known in 2000); a group of litter-dwelling species restricted to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest ( Huber et al. 2005b); (3) bifida  group (group “1” in Huber 2000); this South American group includes the type species M. bifida  Simon, 1893; all species included share a sclerotized epigynum and (except for the ‘basal’ undescribed species “G062”) a distinctively bifid abdomen; (4) potiguar group (not recognized in Huber 2000); this group includes cave dwelling species in Brazil ( M. potiguar  Ferreira et al. 2011) and Jamaica ( M. jamaica  Gertsch, 1986) and the aberrant litter-dwelling M. globulosa  Huber, 2000 (which was misplaced in group “5” in Huber 2000); rica group (group “4” in Huber 2000); a mainly North and Central American group, possibly ranging into South America, but not including all Caribbean and Central American species as speculated previously ( Huber 2000; see previous group); (5) furcata group (group “5” in Huber 2000, together with M. globulosa  ); includes only M. furcata  Huber, 2000 and the undescribed species “Br09-55”; as suspected previously ( Huber 2000), it is close to (sister of) the next group; (6) delicata group (group “2” in Huber 2000); this group is composed of very small species and ranges from Mexico to northern Argentina.