Zoological  Journal of the Linnean Society (2003) 137: 555-619.

High species diversity in one of the dominant groups of spiders in East African montane forests (Araneae: Pholcidae: Buitinga n. gen., Spermophora Hentz)

Bernhard A. Huber


The six-eyed pholcid spiders of East Africa are revised. A new genus is recognised, Buitinga n. gen., with 17 new species and three species transferred from Spermophora Hentz. The new genus is characterised by the presence of a scape on the epigynum. This scape may be straight or tightly curled up at rest, and is usually highly expandable. Seven additional African and Comoran species are newly described and tentatively assigned to Spermophora. A data matrix with 60 characters and 77 taxa (including 20 East African species and 25 additional Spermophora and “Spermophora-like” species) is cladistically analysed. Buitinga is closer to the genera Paramicromerys Millot (endemic in Madagascar) and Spermophorides Wunderlich (Mediterranean and Canary Islands) as well as to several African and Comoran species tentatively assigned to Spermophora than to the type species of Spermophora. It is argued that species numbers lists of spider families may be biased and that pholcids may turn out among the most diverse spider families.

Additional key words: cladistic analysis, Eastern Arc, phylogeny, Tanzania, taxonomy