Brazil 2011 - Bahia

The main goal of my fifth Atlantic Forest expedition (in cooperation with Abel Pérez González and Marcelo Alves Dias) was Bahia. Driving north from Rio de Janeiro up to beautiful Salvador de Bahia (above) we visited several National Parks and Forest Reserves in northern Espirito Santo and Bahia. While only seven species of Pholcidae are currently published from Bahia,
we found a total of 30 species in just two weeks of collecting, 18 of them new to science. Species diversity per locality seems to be slightly lower than further south, but the level of endemism is still extreme (for details see here). For example, of the 10 species found in Serra Bonita Reserve (photo below) six have not been found anywhere else.

One of the most exciting results from the 2011 expedition concerns the ecological diversification within the genus Carapoia. Previously (Huber 2005), Carapoia was thought to include a fairly homogeneous set of species adapted to life in dark spaces near the forest floor, resulting in similar dark coloration and general body shape (like the species from Vargem Alta shown below, upper left). An exception was C. rheimsae, whose long abdomen (upper right) suggested that it lives higher in the vegetation. Not only could we verify this prediction, but we also found two further ecological types: (1) one very thin-legged type (bottom left) mostly under logs (several new species north of the Doce River, the area of the so-called Bahia refuge), and (2) one pale-greenish type (bottom right) on the underside of green leaves (including the new species from Bahia shown below and very probably the currently misplaced Mesabolivar luteus).

I am most thankful to my friends and colleagues Marcelo and Abel (left and middle) for their help with preparations, permits, collecting, and for the great time we had. This expedition was funded by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and the Alexander Koenig Stiftung (AKS, Bonn).

The "ABC team" (Austria, Brazil, Cuba)
Marcelo, Abel, myself