| The first
major publication reulting from a DFG-funded project on the pholcid
subfamily Ninetinae deals with the previously monotypic Andean genus Nerudia. This genus exemplifies
well our poor knowledge of Ninetinae: only seven adult specimens from
two localities in Chile and Argentina have previously been reported in
the literature. In an expedition
to Argentina in 2019, we found representatives of Nerudia at 24 of the 52 localities
visited, mostly under rocks in very arid habitats, up to 4450 m a.s.l.,
the highest record for Pholcidae
so far. With now more than 400 adult specimens, we revise the genus,
describing ten new species based on morphology (incl. SEM) and CO1
barcodes. In addition, we present the first karyotype data for Nerudia and for its putative
sister genus Gertschiola.
These two southern South American genera share a X1X2X3Y
sex chromosome system.
Finally, we model the distribution of Nerudia, showing that the genus is expected to occur in the Atacama biogeographic province (no record so far) and that its environmental niche is phylogenetically conserved. This is the first comprehensive revision of any Ninetinae genus. It suggests that focused collecting may uncover a considerable diversity of these enigmatic spiders.