The Comb-footed spider genera Theridion, Achaearanea and Anelosimus of Israel (Araneae: Theridiidae)



Israeli thendiid spiders of the genera Theridion, Achaearanea and Anelosimus have been revised. A relative richness in species is presented providing thereby updated information on the little known Mediterranean spider fauna. All type and non-type material previously described from the Middle East, deposited in several European collections has been re-examined, along with species from adjacent regions considered pertinent to the study undertaken. Altogether 21 species are recognized. Systematic, ecologic and all available zoogeographic information on taxa treated are discussed along with recent, pertaining literature. The presence of seven species formerly reported from Israel has been confirmed and the occurrence of another four species unknown hitherto from this region, has been proved. Some of these have never been adequately described or illustrated.

Ten new species are described: Theridion ochreolus, T. agaricographus, T hierwhonticus, T. jordanensis, T. negebensis, T. gekkonicus, T. dafnensis, T. vallisalinarum, T. pustiliferus and Anelosimus giladensis. The male of Theridion melanostictum is described for the first time. Keys, illustrations of diagnostic characters and records of distribution are provided for each species, all readily applicable also in adjacent countries. These may provide clues for better understanding of zoogeographic patterns of the Palearctic fauna, including those of the Old World Desert belt extending south and east of the Mediterranean region.