Bonner zoologische Beiträge (2005) 53(1/2): 99-107.

Leptopholcus (Araneae: Pholcidae) in continental America: rare relicts in low precipitation areas

Bernhard A. Huber, Abel Pérez González & Renner L. C. Baptista


The genus Leptopholcus has a circumtropical distribution, but the only New World records previously known were for the Greater Antilles. On these islands, Leptopholcus is quite common, probably due to the absence of Metagonia from the Antilles. On the other hand, Leptopholcus was previously thought to be absent from the mainland where Metagonia is ubiquitous and species-rich, occupying the preferred habitat of Leptopholcus (the underside of leaves). The present paper describes three new species of Leptopholcus from South America: L. brazlandia from Distrito Federal, Brazil, L. pataxo from Bahia, Brazil, and L. evaluna from Sucre, Venezuela. All these species were collected in low numbers at low precipitation areas, and no further specimens could be found in large collections of South American pholcids, indicating a relict status of the genus in South America. The known distribution of the genus is documented, and taxonomic problems regarding its relationship with Pholcus and other genera are briefly discussed.

Key words. New species, taxonomy, relict, South America, competitive exclusion, Metagonia