The spider genus Metabus (Tetragnathidae) previously included nine species: the type M. gravidus O. P.-Cambridge, 1899 – junior synonym of Leucauge ocellata (Keyserling) – from Central America and eight species from Chile. In this paper, the classification of the Metabus species-complex is revised, and two new genera, with three new species and five new combinations, are described. Allende gen. nov. is created for four Chilean species not congeneric with the type of Metabus: the type A. puyehuensis sp. nov., A. patagiatus (Simon) comb. nov., A. nigrohumeralis (F. O. P.-Cambridge) comb. nov. and A. longipes (Nicolet) comb. nov. Further additions to the Chilean fauna are under the new genus Mollemeta gen. nov.– created for M. edwardsi (Simon) comb. nov.– and three new species of Chrysometa: C. acinosa sp. nov., C. levii sp. nov. and C. maitae sp. nov.Metabus now includes four species: M. ocellatus (Keyserling) comb. nov., M. debilis (O. P.-Cambridge) comb. nov., M. ebanoverde sp. nov. and M. conacyt sp. nov. All of these species were included in a phylogenetic analysis of 38 tetragnathid and 12 orbicularian outgroup terminals scored for 105 morphological and behavioural characters. The results suggest that Metabus as previously circumscribed is polyphyletic. The phylogenetic relationships within tetragnathids are briefly discussed. © 2007 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2007, 151, 285–335.