accross the Amazon requires either a lot of time or a lot of flying. In
Oct. & Nov. 2016 we chose the second approach, collecting pholcid
spiders at eleven
localities within five weeks. The map below looks like we spent more
flying (and waiting at airports) than collecting, but in fact this trip
was excellently planned by my companion (Leonardo S. Carvalho), so we
actually felt we had enough time at each place to find the large
majority of species present.
Our sampling points: 1 Belem (Utinga), 2 Marabá, 3 Macapá, 4 Santarem (Tapajós), 5 Humaitá, 6 Itapuã do Oeste (Jamari), 7 Rio Branco, 8 Cruzeiro do Sul, 9 Tabatinga, 10 Manaus (Ducke), 11 Presidende Figueiredo.
The preliminary study of the specimens collected suggests that this was probably the most productive expedition I have ever been part of. It seems that we got some 57 pholcid species, about 40 of them new to science.
These are some of my personal highlights. They are representatives of genera that I had never seen alive before (even though I described two of them myself): Aymaria, Otavaloa, and Ibotyporanga.
More surprising were the following spiders. I could not tell the genus for any of them, for the first one I could not even tell the subfamily. After 20 years of work on Pholcidae this had not happened to me for a long time! In the meantime, the three species have been described; the first and third ones in new genera (Kairona; Arenita); the one in the middle turned out to belong in Chibchea, a largely Andean genus.
A few photographic impressions from a across the Amazon:
Like the Brazil Atlantic Forest expeditions 2014 and 2015, this expedition was again funded by the Brazilian Government (CAPES/CNPq) through a project submitted by Adalberto José dos Santos. I am most grateful to Adalberto for inviting me to participate in this expedition, and to Leonardo S. Carvalho for his preparations of the trip and for being a great companion in the field.