Cuba 1999
 
In October and November 1999 I visited the pearl of the Caribic, invited by my friend and colleague Abel Pérez González, and financed by the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Our first and most important goal was to collect a very unusual spider, one that back in 1999 had no scientific name but that had attracted the attention of Abel. It seemed to show extreme variation in the female genitalia, but it is exactly the reproductive organs that usually show the lowest degrees of variaton within species.

After a few days in La Habana, this very unique city with its beautiful casco viejo, we travelled west to Ceja de Francisco, a little village of five houses in Rinar del Rio Province. Right near the village are the caves where Abel had found 'our' pholcid, and after a couple of days we had a large enough series to do a morphometric study. I also took with me a number of alive females, in order to see if each female would produce offspring of different morphs regardless of her own morph.

Other sites we visited were Soroa National Park, Soledad (the type locality of numerous spiders described by Elisabeth Bryant in the fourties), the Escambray mountains (Topes de Collantes), and Cayo Caguanes. At the latter locality we desperately tried to find the unkown males of Anopsicus silvai. This is the largest Anopsicus and we suspected that it might not even be an Anopsicus at all (which is difficult to tell without males). After hours of collecting we counted over 20 females but no male. Even worse, back in La Habana we realized that three specimens were in fact juvenile males. If we only had collected them alive!

Back home (in New York at the time) I  measured the spiders and reared the juveniles from different females. It turned out that the females were in fact dimorphic, an extremely rare phenomenon in arthropods, and that the species belonged into a new genus we named Ciboneya

Two main papers have resulted from this trip (Huber, B. A. & Pérez González, A. 2001a, 2001b), but a wealth of material is still waiting to be worked on.