Brazil 2010

In September and October 2010 I visited for the fourth time the Brazilian Atlantic Forest in order to expand on a long-term project on the diversity and endemism of pholcids in this extraordinary biodiversity hotspot. Previous trips (2003, 2007, 2009) had revealed unusually high numbers of species at any locality and little species overlap among localities (Huber & Rheims in press). In combination with the facts that only about 7% of the Atlantic Forest are left and that most of the forest fragments are relatively easily accessible, this explains why the area is extremely interesting for any study of the origin and maintenance of biodiversity.

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Together with Janel Ricetti I first explored two localities in Paraná state (Serro e Gemido and Fazenda Rio Grande), both near Curitiba. However, species diversity was surprisingly low, so we continued further south to Reserva Volta Velha in Santa Catarina, a well preserved forest at sea level. Even here, seven pholcid species was all we could find, suggesting that extremely high numbers (>10) are limited to forests closer to the Equator.

The second part of the trip was devoted to two forests in Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo states: a forest near Santa Maria Madalena (foto above), and a forest near Vargem Alta (foto below).

vargem alta

mesabolivar
A new litter-dwelling species of the genus Mesabolivar from Reserva Volta Velha.

spiders
Atlantic Forest in Santa Maria Madalena.
 

I am very thankful to Janael Ricetti (below, left, with Darlene) and Abel Pérez González for preparing this trip and for accompanying me in the field.
Thanks is also due to the Alexander Koenig Stiftung for financing the trip.

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