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A detailed re-description of the type specimen of Trichopelma cubanum (Simon, 1903) is presented. Comments and observations are made regarding morphological characters, such as the absence of teeth on the paired claws and the presence of small teeth on the anterior edge of the booklung opening. These characters, found in other species of Trichopelma Simon, 1888 (represented in the Neotropical region by 16 species), suggest that the recent transfer of the genus to Theraphosidae may be unjustified, and that Trichopelma may indeed be more closely related to the Barychelidae.
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Duniesky Ríos Tamayo*
* Unidad Ejecutora Lillo (UEL-CONICET); Miguel Lillo 205, 4000. S. M. Tucumán,
[Tamayo, D. R. 2017. Re-description of Trichopelma cubanum (Theraphosidae:
Ischnocolinae) and comments about the familial placement of Trichopelma. Munis
Entomology & Zoology, 12 (1): 194-198]
ABSTRACT: A detailed re-description of the type specimen of Trichopelma cubanum
(Simon, 1903) is presented. Comments and observations are made regarding morphological
characters, such as the absence of teeth on the paired claws and the presence of small teeth
on the anterior edge of the booklung opening. These characters, found in other species of
Trichopelma Simon, 1888 (represented in the Neotropical region by 16 species), suggest
that the recent transfer of the genus to Theraphosidae may be unjustified, and that
Trichopelma may indeed be more closely related to the Barychelidae.
KEY WORDS: Barychelidae, Cuba, Neotropical region, Trichopelmatinae
The genus Trichopelma Simon, 1888, has seventeen species and presents a
Neotropical distribution (World Spider Catalog, 2015). Only one species
(Trichopelma astutum (Simon, 1889)) is known for both sexes; four by their
males only Trichopelma astutum (Simon, 1889), Trichopelma nitidum Simon,
1888, Trichopelma scopulatum (Fsichel, 1927) and Trichopelma cubanum
(Simon, 1903) while the remaining are known only for their females. The genus is
characterized by a transverse pallid weakness on tarsi IV of males and females,
and scopula present on all legs but divided on tarsi IV of females (Raven, 1985).
Hapalopinus was proposed by Simon (1903) to host the new species H.
cubanum, placing it in the family Theraphosidae. In 1973, Gerschman &
Schiapelli (1973) placed Hapalopinus in the subfamily Ischnocolinae
(Theraphosidae). Hapalopinus was later placed in the synonymy of Trichopelma
by Raven (1985), in the family Barychelidae Simon, 1889. Raven (1985) also was
created the subfamily Trichopelmatinae to include the genera Trichopelma and
Psalistops Simon, 1889. Subsequently, Raven (1994) proposed the inclusion of
the subfamily Trichopelmatinae in the family Theraphosidae but without any
comments; therefore this proposal was not taken into account in catalogs. In
2014, Guadanucci formally transfered Trichopelma to the subfamily
Ischnocolinae (Theraphosidae) as had been suggested by Raven (1994).
The original description of Hapalopinus cubanum was published by Simon
(1903), but (as it was standard at the time) the description is very brief and has
few characters that allow a clear differentiation of this species with the others. In
modern times, such description is outdated, needing an updated and improved
one, in order to allow an unambiguous identification of the species. The typical
specimen of the species has poor information on the label, with the only data
about his collection "Cuba", making the search for new material belonging to this
species difficult.
In this paper, an updated and detailed description of T. cubanum is carried
out, from his type specimen. Photos of various structures studied are given and
comments are made about some morphological characters that are relevant to the
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familial placement of the genus.
All measurements are given in millimeters and were taken on the left side of
the specimen. As standard in Araneae, total lengths were taken with chelicerae,
and carapace lengths without chelicerae. Reference points for measurements were
taken according to Coyle (1974). All measurements were taken with a micrometric
ocular on an Olympus SZ4045 stereoscope. The notation for leg spines follows
Goloboff and Platnick (1987); when describing variation in chaetotaxy, only
surfaces with different numbers of spines were listed. Abbreviations: The
following abbreviations are used in the text: AME = anterior median eyes, ALE =
anterior lateral eyes, PME = posterior median eyes, PLE = posterior lateral eyes,
D = dorsal, P = prolateral, R = retrolateral, V = ventral, P SUP ANT= prolateral
superior anterior, P SUP = prolateral superior, R SUP= retrolateral superior, 1:2
A, 3:4 B = indicate that the spines or scopula referred to are in the apical half or
basal third-fourths.
Genus Trichopelma Simon, 1888, p. 215
Type species: T. nitidum Simon, 1888.
Trichopelma cubanum (Simon, 1903)
Hapalopinus cubanus Simon, 1903a: 930, f. 1085-1086 (Dm).
Hapalopinus cubanus Gerschman & Schiapelli, 1973b: 70, f. 58-62 (m).
Hapalopinus cubanus Schmidt, 1986: 42, f. 15-16 (m).
Psalistops cubanus Wunderlich, 1988: 52, f. 33 (m).
Type material: Holotype: , Cuba. (without more data), MNHN-17702.
Diagnosis: T. cubanum can be distinguished by the AME-LPE separated from
each other. It can be distinguished from T. nitidum Simon, 1888 by the presence
of a more rounded bulb with a highly stylized embolus (Fig. 2), slender palpal
tibia, and apical apophysis on tibia I with a curved elongate megaspine at the apex
(Fig. 1C). Differs from T. scopulatum (Fischel, 1927) by the presence of 12
promarginal teeth on the chelicerae furrow and from T. astutum (Simon, 1889) by
having more thorns on the palp tibiae.
Description: Total length: 14.88. Carapace (Fig. 1A): length 6.60, width 5.40.
Cephalic region 4.20 length, 2.64 width, with dorsal silvery pilosity and well
defined dorsal striae. Fovea recurved; 7 dark bristles in the line to the fovea and 2
thick bristles ahead of the fovea. Black hairs and bristles on lateral margins of the
carapace margin. Ocular region (Fig. 1D) on a slight prominence, length 0.60,
width 1.12, with 9 anterior bristles and 11 posterior ones. Anterior ocular line
procurved; posterior slightly procurved, almost straight. Eyes: Diameters and
interdistances: AME:ALE:PME:PLE, 0.16: 0.32: 0.16: 0.20. AME-AME: ALE-
PLE: AME-ALE: AME-PME: PME-PLE 0.16:0.16:0.16:0:0.08. Chelicerae:
elongate and slender, many dorsal short black bristles with an abundant pilosity.
Furrow promargin with 12 teeth and 7 denticles near the apex. Intercheliceral
tumescence with 11 small bristles. Labium (Fig. 1B), 0.60 length; 1.08 width; with
37 rounded cuspules and abundant apical bristles. Labiosternal suture a narrow
groove with two lateral sigilla well defined. Maxillae with ~97 cuspules in inner
angle, developed angular heel. Sternum (Fig. 1B), 3.12 long, 2.58 wide; with fine
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hair; all sigilla small and marginal, oval. Abdomen: 6.84 length, anterior edge of
the booklung opening with series of small teeth (Fig. 1G). Posterior median
spinnerets: length 0.50, posterior lateral spinnerets with basal: medial: apical
articles of lengths 0.59:0.35:0.24. Lengths of legs and palp (femora, patellae,
tibiae, metatarsi, tarsi, total): I: 5.40, 3.00, 4.08, 3.80, 2.10, 18.38. II: 5.10, 3.00,
3.96, 4.02, 2.10, 18.18. III: 4.50, 2.40, 3.30, 4.50, 2.10, 16.80. IV: 5.88, 2.82, 5.16,
6.72, 2.58, 23.16. palp: 3.30, 2.10, 2.58, , 1.26, 9.24.
Chaetotaxy: Femora: All with 4 thick dorsal bristles. I, 1 P SUP ANT; II, 1-1/1
P SUP ANT; III, 1-1-1 P SUP, 1-1-2 R SUP; IV, 1-1 R SUP, 1-1 P SUP (1:2 A); Palp, 1
P SUP ANT. Patellae: I, 2 V; II, 1 V A; III, 1-2 P; IV, 1 P, 1/0 V; Palp, 0. Tibiae: I, 1-
1 P, 2-3-1/3-1-1 V, 1-1 P + large and conical, apical apophysis with curved elongate
apical megaspine; a prolateral birramose process (the largest internal branch)
(Fig. 1C); II, 1-1 P SUP, 2-2-3/2-1-3 V; III; 1-1-1/1-1 R, 2-2-3 V, 1-2/2-2 P; IV, 1-1-
1-1 R, 1-1 P (1:2 B), 3-4-3 V, 1-2-1 R; Palp, 2-1-2 P. Metatarsi: I, 1-1/1 V; II, 1-1 V;
III, 2-2-3 V, 1-1-1-1 P, 1-1-1 R; IV, 1-1-1-1 R, 3-1-2-3 V, 1-1-1 P. Tarsi: I-IV, 0; Palp,
0. Paired tarsal claws without teeth (Fig. 1E). Tarsi IV with a transverse pallid
weakness (Fig. 1E).
Scopula: Metatarsi: I-II, not divided and symmetrical, more abundant
towards the apex; III, light, more abundant on 3:4 A; IV, light, on 1:3 A. Tarsi:
dense; I-II divided by a barely visible band of setae, III-IV divided by a clear very
visible band delimited by line of bristles on each side (on tarsi III less visible and
narrow). Trichobothria: not visible on tibiae and metatarsi, due to preservation.
Tarsi with clavate trichobothria, (filiform: clavate): I, 14:12; II, 20:16; III, 14:14;
IV, 18:20.
Colour in alcohol: cephalothorax yellow brown, abdomen light brown,
dorsally with four light interrupted bands and a bigger anterior one (Fig. 1F).
The subfamily Trichopelmatinae shares several common characters with
Theraphosidae such as: the abundant amount of cuspules on labium and maxillae
and the short apical segment of the posterior lateral spinnerets (having a
triangular state intermediate between the long and digitiform of theraphosid and
the short and domed of barychelid), which is considered a modification of the
condition present in the Theraphosidae (Raven, 1985). In comparison with other
Barychelidae, it shares some characters that define the family such as: the
biserially dentate paired claws of males (with the exception of Sasoninae; this
character is also present in Ischnocolus: Theraphosidae); the well-developed
tarsal scopulae; the numerous cuspules on the labium (is considered the
plesiomorphic condition in barychelids). The maxillary heel present on the
subfamily Trichopelmatinae is considered the autapomorphy of the group (Raven,
1985). Goloboff (1993) agrees with the monophyly of the family Barychelidae and
proposes a new synapomorphy for the group: a series of teeth on the anterior rim
of the booklung opening. This character, although it has never been used in a
quantiative phylogenetic analysis, seems to be strong and unusual enough to
support the monophyly of the family and is present on trichopelmatines
(Goloboff, 1993).
Within the Barychelidae, clavate trichobothria may be absent, very reduced in
size and limited to a few ones on the tarsus mid-length, or present in a small
apical group or in a line throughout the tarsus (Guadanucci, 2012). On
Trichopelmatinae, there is a pattern with two parallel rows of clavate
trichobothria interspersed with filiform, separated by a row of long, thin setae.
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Such pattern is also found in Harpactirinae, Theraphosinae, Eumenophorinae,
and Ischnocolinae (except for the genera Ischnocolus Ausserer, 1871, Heterothele
Karsch, 1879 and Catumiri Guadanucci, 2004) (Guadanucci, 2012). The
morphology and disposition of the trichobothria was a useful character which
supported the transfer of the Trichopelmatinae to the subfamily Ischnocolinae
made by Guadanucci (2014).
The monophyly of the subfamily Trichopelmatinae has not been tested. The
presence of ocular group rectangular in the margin of the carapace, and the
unusual shape of the maxilla with a heel, are considered diagnostic characters
(this last character is considered an autapomorphy by Raven, 1985). In the same
work, Raven (1985, pag. 159) questioned the use of the division of tarsus IV in
Trichopelma (as opposed to Psalistops) as a solid character to maintain their
generic status. This problematic between Trichopelma and Psalistops remains
The males of Trichopelma presented biserially dentate paired claws, according
to Raven (1985). However, our analysis of T. cubanum revealed the absence of
this character in all tarsi (Fig 5). We analyzed this character in other specimens of
Trichopelma and found a great variability between individuals and between sexes
(even within the same exemplary); confirming that the character is variable
within the genus. No clear pattern of distribution in the specimens studied was
observed. This same variability was found by David Ortiz (com. pess. 2014) in
another batch of specimens of the same genus.
The observations reported here suggest the urgent need for a taxonomic and
phylogenetic study of the subfamily Trichopelmatinae, with a consequent collect
of the sexes that are unknown for different species. The absence of teeth in the
paired tarsal claws of T. cubanum; the presence of teeth on the margin of the
pulmonary openings and the division of the tarsis IV are characters that need to
be analyzed much more carefully. These characters represent an important
starting point to consider in future studies and they could play an important role
in the phylogenetic relationships of the genus, being able to put into question, its
current status and phylogenetic placement.
This work was supported by a CONICET PhD, scholarship. Special thanks to
Christine Rollard, National Museum of Natural History, París; Jan Peter Rudloff
and Jason A. Dunlop, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin for the material loaned. To
Pablo A. Goloboff for improving the manuscript, and to Daniela Maizel for
helping me with the English grammar.
Coyle, F. A. 1974. Systematics of the trapdoor spider genus Aliatypus (Araneae: Antrodiaetidae). P syche, Cambridge, 81:
Gerschman De Pikelin, B. & Schiapelli, R. 1973. La subfamilia "Ischnocolinae" (Araneae: Th eraphosidae). Revista
del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales. Entomología, 4: 43-77.
Goloboff, P. A. 1993. A reanalysis of mygalomorph spider families (Araneae). American Museum Novitates, 3056: 1-32.
Goloboff, P. A. & Platnick, N. I. 1987. A review of the Chilean spiders of the superfamily Migoidea (Araneae,
Mygalomorphae). American Museum Novitates, 2888: 1-15.
Guadanucci, J. P. L. 2012. Trichobothrial morphology of Theraphosidae and Barychelidae spiders (Araneae,
Mygalomorphae). Zootaxa, 3439: 1-42.
Guadanucci, J. P. L. 2014. Theraphosidae phylogeny: relationships of the ‘Ischnocolinae’ genera (Araneae,
Mygalomorphae). Zoologica Scripta, 43 (5): 508-518.
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Simon, E. 1903: Histoire naturelle des araignées. Paris, 2: 669-1080.
Raven, R. J. 1994. Mygalomorph spiders of the Barychelidae in Australia and th e Western Pacific. Memoirs of the
Queensland Museum, 35: 291-706.
Raven, R. J. 1985. The spider infraorder Mygalomorphae (Araneae): Cladistics and Systematics. Bulletin of the American
Museum of Natural History, 182: 1-180.
World Spider Catalog. 2016. World spider catalog. Bern, Natural History Mus eum Bern, version 15.5, available online
at: [Accessed: 28/1/2016]
Figure 1. Trichopelma cubanum. A- cephalothorax. B- sternum. C- tibia I, apophysis. D-
ocular region. E- tarsus IV, showing clear the transverse mark and the paired claws without
teeth. F- abdomen, dorsal view. G- opening booklung showing the series of teeth. Scales= 1
Figure 2. Trichopelma cubanum. Copulatory bulb, three different views. Scales= 1 mm.
  • Preprint
    The Infraorder Mygalomorphae is one of the three main lineages of spiders comprising over 3,000 nominal species. This ancient group has a world-wide distribution that includes among its ranks large and charismatic taxa such as tarantulas, trapdoor spiders, and highly venomous funnel web spiders. Based on past molecular studies using Sanger-sequencing approaches, numerous mygalomorph families (e.g., Hexathelidae, Ctenizidae, Cyrtaucheniidae, Dipluridae and Nemesiidae) have been identified as non-monophyletic. However, these data were unable to sufficiently resolve the higher-level (intra- and interfamilial) relationships such that the necessary changes in classification could be made with confidence. Here we present the most comprehensive phylogenomic treatment of the spider infraorder Mygalomorphae conducted to date. We employ 472 loci obtained through Anchored Hybrid Enrichment to reconstruct relationships among all the mygalomorph spider families and estimate the timeframe of their diversification. We performed an extensive generic sampling of all currently recognized families, which has allowed us to assess their status, and as a result, propose a new classification scheme. Our generic-level sampling has also provided an evolutionary framework for revisiting questions regarding silk use in mygalomorph spiders. The first such analysis for the group within a strict phylogenetic framework shows that a sheet web is likely the plesiomorphic condition for mygalomorphs, as well as providing hints to the ancestral foraging behavior for all spiders. Our divergence time estimates, concomitant with detailed biogeographic analysis, suggest that both ancient continental-level vicariance and more recent dispersal events have played an important role in shaping modern day distributional patterns. Based on our results, we relimit the generic composition of the Ctenizidae, Cyrtaucheniidae, Dipluridae and Nemesiidae. We also elevate five subfamilies to family rank: Anamidae (NEW RANK), Euagridae (NEW RANK), Ischnothelidae (NEW RANK), Pycnothelidae (NEW RANK), and Bemmeridae (NEW RANK). The three families Hermachidae (NEW FAMILY), Microhexuridae (NEW FAMILY), and Stasimopidae (NEW FAMILY) are newly proposed. Such a major rearrangement in classification, recognizing eight newly established family-level rank taxa, is the largest the group has seen in over three decades since Raven's (1985) taxonomic treatment.
  • La subfamilia "Ischnocolinae" (Araneae: Theraphosidae)
    • B Gerschman De Pikelin
    • R Schiapelli
    Gerschman De Pikelin, B. & Schiapelli, R. 1973. La subfamilia "Ischnocolinae" (Araneae: Theraphosidae). Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales. Entomología, 4: 43-77.
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