November and December 2010 I visited the western region of Uganda.
Uganda has a series of well preserved
forests along its western border, and I had the opportunity to collect
in several National Parks like Mgahinga Gorilla N.P., Bwindi
Impenetrable Forest N.P. (foto below), Ruwenzori Mountains N.P., Kibale
and in some
Forest Reserves like Kalinzu F.R., Kasyoha-Kitomi F.R., and Budongo
The aim was a
general inverntory of pholcid spiders, bult like a few months
earlier in Kenya, I was again
interested to see up to which altitude pholcid
do occur. On Mt. Kenya I had found Spermophora
minotaura at 3580 m,
so I went up on Ruwenzori Mountains until no more pholcids could be
found. The highest point was Bujongolo shelter, where I found a male
(and many webs) of a new species of
Smeringopus as high as 3780 m, close to the site shown
below. We continued the search up to 4000 m, but no higher specimen
could be found. In the meantime the species has been described, and
named for the locality: Smeringopus
bujongolo (Huber 2012).
in Kenya, species diversity was rather low, and except for a few
species, my hope to find representatives of the Congolese fauna was
mostly frustrated. Nevertheless, with about ten new species of pholcid
spiders the collecting trip can be considered fairly
successful. The material has been published in three papers: on Pholcus (Huber 2011), on Smeringopus (Huber 2012), and on Eastern
African pholcid spiders (Huber
& Warui 2012). In addition, several specimens were sequenced
and used in the most recent molecular phylogeny of Pholcidae (Dimitrov et al. 2012).
I owe thanks to Gerald Eilu for help with permits and preparations, and to Aggrey Kushemererwa for being a reliable driver and companion. Thanks is also due the German Research Foundation for financing this expedition (DFG Project HU 980/9-1).