diverse are West African forests compared to those in Central and
East Africa? A simple question but just a few years ago, the basic data
answer it for pholcid spiders were simply lacking.
West Africa could have been predicted to be less diverse
than Central Africa,
both for historical and current reasons (only about 12% of the original
tropical moist forests remain in West Africa, as opposed to 59% in
Africa). West Africa could also have been predicted to be less diverse
East Africa with its wider range of altitudes, its mosaic of different
vegetation zones, and its highly diverse Eastern Arc.
Kakum Forest, Ghana, photo B.A. Huber
was this also true for pholcid spiders? With the available
publications and the pholcid material in existing
collections it seemed impossible to even roughly estimate basic data
species numbers and distribution patterns.
For this reason, and in order to obtain
comparable data across the African continent, I conducted a series of
(2008-2013) to East Africa (Kenya,
Uganda), Central Africa (Cameroon, Gabon),
and West Africa (Guinea, Ghana). This paper summarizes the
data on West Africa,
complementing revisions of all major taxa in the area (Huber, 2011b, 2012, 2013)
and a previous summary on
East African Pholcidae (Huber &
2012). The final part of this trilogy (Central Africa) was
published in 2013 (Huber et al. 2013).
A main result of the present paper: with respect to Pholcidae, West
Africa is indeed only
about half as diverse as regions of comparable sizes in Central and
Some of the species listed/described: 1.
Pholcus doucki Huber,
2011 from Doucki, Guinea. – 2-3.
Pholcus kakum Huber,
2009 from Forêt Classée de Ziama, Guinea (2) and Kakum
N.P., Ghana (3). – 4. Leptopholcus kintampo sp. nov. from
Kintampo, Ghana. – 5. Leptopholcus tipula (Simon, 1907)
from Kakum N.P., Ghana. – 6. Nyikoa limbe Huber, 2007 from Kakum
N.P., Ghana. – 7-8. Pehrforsskalia conopyga
Deeleman-Reinhold & van Harten, 2001 from Atewa, Ghana. – 9-10. Anansus atewa sp. nov. from Atewa,
Ghana. – 11-13. Spermophora akwamu sp. nov. from
Kakum N.P., Ghana (13: web). Photos BAH.