The South American spider genera Mesabolivar and Carapoia (Araneae, Pholcidae):
new species and a framework for redrawing generic limits

(published in Zootaxa, 2018;
With now 94 and 45 nominal species, Mesabolivar and Carapoia are the most species rich pholcid genera in South America. Some representatives of Mesabolivar are among the most conspicuous and abundant spiders in Neotropical forests, often with large webs that are easily spotted among the vegetation. This is in contrast with the more cryptic lifestyle of many Carapoia species, but even in this genus, some species are large, abundant, and easy to find.

A sample of Mesabolivar species, illustrating the wide range of forms and colors in this genus. Photos BAH.

Unfortunately, several ‘old’ species (i.e. species described before 2000) have been very poorly known, types of several species are lost, and some species are probably misplaced in other genera. The present paper continues a previous effort (Huber 2000) to ameliorate this situation by redescribing ‘old’ species, by reevaluating generic limits, and by providing morphological descriptions and names of material collected in nine expeditions to Venezuela and Brazil between 2002 and 2016.

Just like in Mesabolivar, different species of Carapoia inhabit different microhabitats explaining some of the differences among species. Photos BAH.

This paper also highlights some problems at species level that involve some of the oldest names and that could serve as the basis for exciting and promising follow-up projects. Names like Mesabolivar togatus (Keyserling, 1891), M. brasiliensis (Moenkhaus, 1898), M. cyaneotaeniatus (Keyserling, 1891), and Carapoia lutea (Keyserling, 1891) might currently include more than one species. A combination of field work (dense geographic sampling) and modern species delimitation methods is likely to provide answers.