Daddy-long-leg giants: revision of the spider genus Artema Walckenaer, 1837 (Araneae, Pholcidae)

  • Shlomi Aharon Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, Midreshet Ben-Gurion
  • Bernhard A. Huber Alexander Koenig Research Museum of Zoology, Adenauerallee 160, 53113 Bonn
  • Efrat Gavish-Regev The Arachnid National Natural History Collection, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram, Jerusalem
Keywords: key, Middle East, Pholcidae, taxonomy


This is the first revision of Artema Walckenaer, 1837, a genus consisting of large and phylogenetically interesting species. Even though Artema is not species-rich (now eight nominal species), it has suffered from poor descriptions and synonymies. Our main goal was to gather all available material and to clarify species limits. Four species are easily distinguished from other congeners: Artema atlanta Walckenaer, 1837, the type species; A. kochi Kulczyński, 1901 (revalidated); A. bunkpurugu Huber & Kwapong, 2013; and A. nephilit sp. nov. All other species are problematic for varying reasons: species limits are unclear between A. doriae Thorell, 1881 and A. transcaspica Spassky, 1934; A. magna Roewer, 1960 and A. ziaretana (Roewer, 1960) are problematic because they are based on female and juvenile types respectively and little new material is available. The material available to us suggests the existence of a few further species; however, they are not formally described, either because of small sample sizes (Artema sp. a and A. sp. b are represented by only one specimen each) or because of unclear species limits (between Artema sp. c, A. transcaspica and A. doriae).This study is the first serious step towards understanding the genus. Intensive collecting effort is needed in order to fully clarify species limits.


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How to Cite
Aharon, S., Huber, B. A., & Gavish-Regev, E. (2017). Daddy-long-leg giants: revision of the spider genus Artema Walckenaer, 1837 (Araneae, Pholcidae). European Journal of Taxonomy, (376).