Multilocus genealogies reveal multiple cryptic species and biogeographical complexity in the California turret spider Antrodiaetus riversi (Mygalomorphae, Antrodiaetidae)


Marshal Hedin, Fax: +1-619-594-5676; E-mail:


Antrodiaetus riversi (Araneae, Antrodiaetidae) is a dispersal-limited, habitat specialized mygalomorph spider species endemic to mesic woodlands of northern and central California. This species occupies a disjunct distribution, with populations in the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, separated by the inhospitable Central Valley. Previous studies of morphological and allozyme variation have suggested that these populations may constitute cryptic species. We investigated the phylogeography of A. riversi using both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences, collected for a comprehensive population sample. These data reveal the presence of at least five species in the A. riversi complex — these species are deeply diverged, and genealogically exclusive in both nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. Each of these species is characterized by extreme population subdivision and deep phylogeographical structuring, consistent with minimal gene flow across the dissected Californian landscape. Three species are restricted to the Coast Ranges, one to high altitudes of the central Sierran Nevada, and one species is found in both ranges. These species have allopatric distributions, although species parapatry is hypothesized to occur in several areas. Species diversification appears to have pulsed in the Late Miocene/Early Pliocene, a timing consistent with biogeographical reconstructions for many Californian taxa, and a time of turbulent geological activity in the region.