High and dry: the Andean genus Nerudia
Published in Zool. J. Linn.Soc.; together with G. Meng, J. Král, I.M. Ávila Herrera, M.A. Izquierdo, and L.S. Carvalho

This first major publication resulting 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 will uncover a considerable diversity of these enigmatic spiders.