Pholcid spider diversity in Brazil's Atlantic Forest
(first data published in J. Nat. Hist. 45 (2011): 275-301; request PDF)

Several recent expeditions to Brazil's Atlantic Forest (2003, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) have shown that this region, where only 12% of the original forest cover remain and only 9% of the remaining forest are protected, harbours an immense wealth of pholcid spider diversity. The map above shows all localities (as of 2011) from which ten or more species have been collected, and almost half of them are located in the Atlantic Forest. In addition, 62% of the species were found at only one locality, suggesting an unusually high species turnover among localities and high levels of local endemism.

Of the 39 species that were collected during the first three trips, 26 were new at the time of collecting. In the meantime, four species have been described formally (Huber 2005, Huber, Rheims & Brescovit 2005a, b), and the present paper describes four further species of the Atlantic Forest endemic genus Tupigea. Most new species are in the genera Mesabolivar and Metagonia, both of which are in need of major revisions.

An update, including the trips of 2010 and 2011 is found here.