| The genus Hoplopholcus includes fairly large
spiders, most of which are relatively easy to collect in cave entrances
or among rocks in forests, and all of which occur in regions that have
a long history of arachnological research (eastern Central Europe to
Crete, the Levant, and Georgia). Nevertheless, Hoplopholcus is only at first
sight an ‘easy’ group. Despite of the relatively large sizes of the
taxonomically relevant morphological characters, some species are
notoriously difficult to identify. This is particularly true of
females. The large number of misidentifications in the literature is
testimony to this difficulty.
One major goal of this work was thus the clarification of species limits. Another motivation was the need to gather data for a comprehensive morphological cladistic analysis of Smeringopinae. The two Subsaharan genera Smeringopus and Smeringopina have been treated previously (Huber 2012, 2013), and Hoplopholcus is the first genus of the ‘northern clade’ to be revised comprehensively.
A main conclusion is that several species need further investigation, based on focused sampling and ideally including molecular data. Some species seem to include morphologically distinct epigean and hypogean populations; others may eventually need to be split into two or more species. Further undescribed species are most likely to occur in Turkey.