Pholcid molecular phylogeny revisited

(D. Dimitrov, J.J. Astrin, B.A. Huber, 2013, Cladistics

After our first attempt to add molecular data to the analysis of relationships in Pholcidae (Bruvo et al. 2005), this new analysis is based on a much larger sample of species. Most material has resulted from expeditions to Latin America and Africa, which in turn means that the large and diverse East Asian fauna continues to be a major gap in the analysis.
     Even so, our dataset of seven markers sampled from 165 pholcids is a major step forward, and in several previously problematic cases molecular and morphological data are converging towards a single hypothesis.
    This is also the first study that explicitly addresses the age of pholcid diversification. The results suggest that the family is much older than revealed by the fossil record alone. The first pholcids seem to have appeared and diversified in the early Mesozoic about 200 million years ago. The oldest known fossil is just about 53 million years old (Penney 2007).