Type Locality : San Martín: Tarapoto, 830m a.s.l
Etymology : It was named after Maria Sybilla Merian, the German-born naturalist who drew the famous engraving of a specimen of Avicularia eating a bird, in recognition to her importance for Natural Sciences.
The genus Avicularia Lamarck, 1818 is revised and all species are rediagnosed. The type species, described as Aranea avicularia Linnaeus, 1758, is the oldest mygalomorph species described and its taxonomic history is extensive and confusing. Cladistic analyses using both equal and implied weights were carried out with a matrix of 46 taxa from seven theraphosid subfamilies, and 71 morphological and ecological characters. The optimal cladogram found with Piwe and concavity = 6 suggests Avicularia and Aviculariinae are monophyletic. Subfamily Aviculariinae includes Avicularia Lamarck, 1818, Typhochlaena C. L. Koch, 1850, Tapinauchenius Ausserer, 1871, Stromatopelma Karsch, 1881, Ephebopus Simon, 1892, Psalmopoeus Pocock, 1895, Heteroscodra Pocock, 1899, Iridopelma Pocock, 1901, Pachistopelma Pocock, 1901, Ybyrapora gen. n., Caribena gen. n., and Antillena gen. n. The clade is supported by well-developed scopulae on tarsi and metatarsi, greatly extended laterally. Avicularia synapomorphies are juveniles bearing black tarsi contrasting with other lighter articles; spermathecae with an accentuated outwards curvature medially, and male palpal bulb with embolus medial portion and tegulum’s margin form an acute angle in retrolateral view. Avicularia is composed of twelve species, including three new species: Avicularia avicularia (Linnaeus, 1818), Avicularia glauca Simon, 1891, Avicularia variegata (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1896) stat. n., A. minatrix Pocock, 1903, Avicularia taunayi (Mello-Leitão, 1920), Avicularia juruensis Mello-Leitão, 1923, Avicularia rufa Schiapelli & Gerschman, 1945, Avicularia purpurea Kirk, 1990, A. hirschii Bullmer et al. 2006, Avicularia merianae sp. n., A. lynnae sp. n., and A. caei sp. n.. Avicularia species are distributed throughout Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. Three new genera are erected to accommodate former Avicularia species: Caribena gen. n., composed of Caribena laeta (C. L. Koch, 1842), comb. n. and Caribena versicolor (Walckenaer, 1837), comb. n.; Antillena gen. n., with a single species, Antillena rickwesti (Bertani & Huff, 2013), comb. n., both from the Caribbean; and Ybyrapora gen. n., composed of Ybyrapora sooretama (Bertani & Fukushima, 2009), comb. n., Ybyrapora gamba (Bertani & Fukushima, 2009), comb. n. and Ybyrapora diversipes (C. L. Koch, 1842), comb. n. from Brazilian rainforest. The subspecies Avicularia avicularia variegata F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1896 is elevated to species status, resulting in the combination Avicularia variegata (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1896) stat. n.. The following new synonymies are established: Avicularia velutina Simon 1889, Avicularia exilis Strand, 1907, Avicularia ancylochyra Mello-Leitão, 1923, Avicularia cuminami Mello-Leitão, 1930, and Avicularia nigrotaeniata Mello-Leitão, 1940 are junior synonyms of A. avicularia; Avicularia bicegoi Mello-Leitão, 1923 is a junior synonym of A. variegata stat. n., and Avicularia urticans Schmidt, 1994 is a junior synonym of Avicularia juruensis Mello-Leitão, 1923. Species transferred to other genera: Avicularia affinis (Nicolet, 1849) is transferred to Euathlus Ausserer, 1875, making the new combination Euathlus affinis (Nicolet, 1849), comb. n.; Avicularia subvulpina Strand, 1906 is transferred to Grammostola Simon, 1892, making the new combination Grammostola subvulpina (Strand, 1906), comb. n.; Avicularia aymara (Chamberlin, 1916) is transferred to Thrixopelma Schmidt, 1994, making the new combination Thrixopelma aymara (Chamberlin, 1916), comb. n.; Avicularia leporina (C. L. Koch, 1841) and Avicularia plantaris (C. L. Koch, 1842) are transferred to Iridopelma Pocock, 1901, making the new combinations Iridopelma leporina (C. L. Koch, 1841), comb. n. and Iridopelma plantaris (C. L. Koch, 1842), comb. n.; the two last species are considered nomina dubia. The following species are considered nomina dubia: Avicularia hirsutissima (C. L. Koch, 1842) nomen dubium; Ischnocolus hirsutum Ausserer, 1875 nomen dubium; Ischnocolus gracilis Keyserling, 1891 nomen dubium; Avicularia arabica (Strand, 1908) nomen dubium; Araneus hirtipes (Fabricius, 1787) nomen dubium; Avicularia ochracea (Perty, 1833) nomen dubium; Avicularia walckenaerii (Perty, 1833) nomen dubium; Avicularia testacea (C. L. Koch, 1841) nomen dubium; Avicularia detrita (C. L. Koch, 1842) nomen dubium; Ischnocolus doleschalli Ausserer, 1871 nomen dubium; Avicularia metallica Ausserer, 1875 nomen dubium; Avicularia rapax (Ausserer, 1875) nomen dubium; Avicularia holmbergi Thorell, 1890 nomen dubium; Avicularia aurantiaca Bauer, 1996 nomen dubium; Avicularia azuraklaasi Tesmoingt, 1996 nomen dubium; Avicularia huriana Tesmoingt, 1996 nomen dubium; Avicularia ulrichea Tesmoingt, 1996 nomen dubium; Avicularia braunshauseni Tesmoingt, 1999 nomen dubium; Avicularia geroldi Tesmoingt, 1999 nomen dubium; Avicularia soratae Strand, 1907 nomen dubium; Avicularia fasciculata Strand, 1907 nomen dubium; Avicularia fasciculata clara Strand, 1907 nomen dubium; and Avicularia surinamensis Strand, 1907 nomen dubium. Avicularia vestiaria (De Geer, 1778) is considered nomen nudum. Keys are provided for identification of all aviculariine genera, as well as to Avicularia, Caribena gen. n., Ybyrapora gen. n. and Antillena gen. n. species. Maps with records and information on species habitat are also presented. Lectotypes are newly designed for A. avicularia, A. variegata stat. n., A. juruensis, C. laeta comb. n., E. affinis comb. n. and a neotype is established for C. versicolor comb. n.
ZooKeys 659: 1-185, Suppl. 1-5