Phylogeny and classification of Pholcidae: an update

(published in J. Arachnol. (2011); PDF; online version here)
Even though the first phylogenetic analysis of Pholcidae (in Huber 2000) indicated that some traditional groups (based on Eugene Simon’s system from 1893!) were very likely not monophyletic, I have always hesitated to present a new formal system for several reasons. First, some of the major clades did not seem well supported. Second, the taxon sample of some major groups was inadequate. Third, forthcoming projects were likely to result in further changes anyway. For these reasons, I have been using provisional, informal names for a decade now, such as “ninetines”, “holocnemines”, “New World clade”, and “pholcines” rather than formal subfamily names.

Photos: B. A. Huber

Since 2000, several further phylogenetic analyses have been published, using both morphological and molecular data (Astrin et al. 2007; Bruvo-Madarić et al. 2005; Huber 2001, 2003a, 2003b, 2003c, 2005a, 2005b, 2007). Even though many of the same reasons that prevented me from publishing a formal system in 2000 could still be invoked, it appears justified to present the systematic status quo after a decade of phylogenetic work on the family. Some major clades now appear well supported and likely to be stable, and most genera can be placed with some confidence into one of these groups. This paper is thus an attempt to summarize, update, and formalize the subfamily-level classification of Pholcidae.