The tarantula genus Brachypelma includes colourful species that are highly sought after in the commercial pet trade. They are all included in CITES appendix II. We present phylogenetic analyses using molecular and morphological characters to revise Brachypelma, in which we include all currently known species. Our results agree with a previous study that shows the non-monophyly of Brachypelma. Both phylogenies strongly favour the division of Brachypelma into two smaller genera. The first clade (Brachypelma s.s.) is formed by B.albiceps, B. auratum, B. baumgarteni, B. boehmei, B. emilia, B. hamorii, B. klaasi and B. smithi. The species included in the second clade are transferred to the new genus Tliltocatl and is formed by T. albopilosum comb. nov., T. epicureanum comb. nov., T. kahlenbergi comb. nov., T. sabulosum comb. nov., T. schroederi comb. nov., T. vagans comb. nov. and T. verdezi comb. nov. Both genera can be differentiated by their coloration and the shape of the genitalia. We transfer to Tliltocatl: T. alvarezi, T. andrewi and T. aureoceps, but should be considered as nomina dubia. In addition, we transfer B. fossorium to Stichoplastoris. We discuss the implications of these taxonomical changes for CITES and for the Mexican Laws for wildlife protection.
The suborder Mygalomorphae is generally poorly represented in the cave faunas of the world. The genus Hemirrhagus is endemic to Mexico and has 22 described species. It is the only one with epigean, troglophile and troglobitic species. Lack of urticating setae, loss of eye pigmentation and ocular reduction are interpreted as evolutionary reversals related to their troglobitic habits. From five troglobitic species in the genus, only the male of Hemirrhagus stygius is known. Five new troglobitic species are described with both sexes: Hemirrhagus akheronteus sp. nov., Hemirrhagus billsteelei sp. nov., Hemirrhaugus diablo sp. nov., Hemirrhagus kalebi sp. nov. and Hemirrhagus sprousei sp. nov. The female of Hemirrhagus chilango is described for the first time. Hemirrhagus akheronteus sp. nov. has a group of spinose setae on the opisthosoma; this setal modification was never reported in any other theraphosid spiders. Females of Hemirrhagus kalebi sp. nov. and Hemirrhagus sprousei sp. nov. lay fixed hammock egg sacs, which is an unusual behavior among species in Theraphosinae. Two stridulating setae previously reported only in epigean species are present on some of the new troglobites.
Systematics has been formally implemented for about 250 years. In the last decades it has suffered great intellectual change, with the embrace of phylogenetic theory and the availability of molecular information. Here we conduct a systematic revision of Bonnetina, a group of tarantulas endemic to Mexico. Species delimitation is mainly conducted from the integration of morphological and molecular information. The mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) marker is used as molecular barcode, and two formal molecular delimitation methods are employed: Hard-Gap barcoding and Poisson Tree Process. In a few cases, we used geographic distribution modelling for predicting the potential distribution of species. We also make a deeper than usual integration of the molecular information in the taxonomy of the group, by providing combined morphological and molecular diagnoses of the species. From our data, we provide a new diagnosis of Bonnetina and recognize the existence of 17 solidly supported species in the genus, 10 of which are newly described. We provide a COI reference alignment to ease future molecular identifications of Bonnetina species. Our work highlights the importance of using several sources of evidence to the species delimitation problem, because any single view is prone to give biased results.
Mexican red-kneed tarantulas of the genus Brachypelma are regarded as some of the most desirable invertebrate pets, and although bred in captivity, they continue to be smuggled out of the wild in large numbers. Species are often difficult to identify based solely on morphology, therefore prompt and accurate identification is required for adequate protection. Thus,weexplored the applicability of using COI-basedDNAbarcoding as a complementary identification tool. Brachypelma smithi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) and Brachypelma hamorii Tesmongt, Cleton & Verdez, 1997 are redescribed, and their morphological differences defined. Brachypelma annitha is proposed as a new synonym of B. smithi. The current distribution of red-kneed tarantulas shows that the Balsas River basin may act as a geographical barrier. Morphological and molecular evidence are concordant and together provide robust hypotheses for delimitingMexican red-kneed tarantula species. DNA barcoding of these tarantulas is further shown to be useful for species-level identification and for potentially preventing black market trade in these spiders. As a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) listing does not protect habitat, or control wildlifemanagement or human interactionswith organisms, it is important to support environmental conservation activities to provide an alternative income for local communities and to avoid damage to wildlife populations.
Since its original description, the theraphosid spider genus Crassicrus Reichling & West, 1996 has not been
revised and no new species have been described. While reviewing material deposited in the Mexican National Collection of Arachnids (National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City) and the American Museum of Natural History (New York, USA), we encountered specimens corresponding to four new species of Crassicrus from Mexico. In this revision, we include a redescription of the genus and its type species, C. lamanai Reichling & West, 1996, and describe four new species: C. bidxigui, C. tochtli, C. cocona, and C. yumkimil. Species habitat data are provided, as well as identification keys for males and females. In addition, new keels on the male embolus were identified and are described. In the Theraphosinae, the presence of one retrolateral keel has been reported, but in Crassicrus, there are two or three retrolateral keels, and a new taxonomical nomenclature for these keels is proposed. The genus Crassicrus is recorded from Mexico for the first time, increasing the number of known theraphine genera in the country to 16.
Two new species of tarantulas from Mexico are described and illustrated: Bonnetina tenuiverpis and Bonnetina juxtantricola, from the states of Mexico and Guerrero, respectively. Male palpal bulbs, tibial apophyses and spermatheca are among the most taxonomically informative characters. Male bulb microstructure is revealed from scanning electron microscopy; both new and homologous structures to other Theraphosinae genera are identified and described. Nomenclatural changes for male tibial apophyses are also proposed. The holotype male and allotype female of one of the species are molecularly characterized and matched from CO1 partial sequence.