|In May 2019 I
visited Samos in order to search for one single species: Hoplopholcus figulus. Brignoli had
described this species in 1971, based on a single female specimen from
Samos. This specimen still exists in the Berlin museum, but the
epigynum has been cut out from the abdomen and is lost. Prior to my
trip, no other specimen from Samos seemed to exist in collections
A few years later, in 1979, Brignoli described the male, but the male specimens available to him originated from nearby Ikaria, not from Samos. Since this is a troglomorphic species, it seemed reasonable to expect a certain degree of isolation between populations on different islands. So I had essentially three goals: get a female to redescribe the epigynum and compare with specimens from other islands, get a male to compare with males from other islands, and get fresh material for molecular work.
I found two species of Hoplopholcus on Samos: the epigean H. minous (left) and the hypogean H. figulus (right). Hoplopholcus minous had not been recorded from Samos before but it is a widespread species, so the finding was not surprising. Hoplopholcus figulus turned out to be much more difficult to find and I was only partly successful: I found several females but no male. It probably needs a more dedicated effort with some technical caving to reach the deeper parts of caves that are no longer occupied by the ubiquitous Pholcus phalangioides.