|After my short
exploratory visit of Oman in 2017, I came back in February 2018 with
more time, especially for the Dhofar Region that I had not visited in
2017. I was better prepared this time, knowing that pholcids would be
almost everywhere, even in the dryest and most improbable places. This
turned out to be true. A total of 19 species of Pholcidae (not counting
synanthropic species) may not sound much, but considering the facts
that (1) not a single named pholcid species has even been published for
Oman and that (2) 16 of the 19 species are new to science, this is
quite a surprising diversity. As expected, the Dhofar Region has a
significantly different pholcid fauna than the east of the contry.
Except for the widespread Ninetis
subtilissima, none of the species found in Oman occurs both in
Dhofar and in the east.
Threse are three very large new species of genus Artema from Oman. Together with A. doriae, this makes four species in Oman, in a genus that currently counts only 8 species. It seems that with respect to Artema, Oman is about the centre of diversity.
Curiously, much the same seems to be the case with the tiny (1 mm body length) spiders of the genus Ninetis. Above are three new species from Oman and the widespread N. subtilissima (second from left). No other country in the Old World is known to contain more than one species of Ninetis. Interestingly, the Omani species differ much more from each other morphologically than all other species of Ninetis from Namibia, Malawi, East Africa, Cameroon, and Madagascar.
|I thank Prof. Reginald Victor (Sultan Qaboos University,
Muskat) for helping with preparations, and Alexander Koenig Stiftung
(AKS, ZFMK) for financial support.