The family of huntsman spiders in Israel with annotations on species of the Middle East (Araneae: Sparassidae)



The spiders of the family Sparassidae in Israel have been described and species of the Middle East and from adjacent faunae have been revised. They are amongst the main predatory spiders of the Old World deserts although some also occur in less arid environments. Systematic and ecological information is presented and patterns of their zoogeographic distribution are discussed. Type and non-type material pertinent to the faunae investigated, deposited in a great number of European collections, has been re-examined. Nearly all species have never been adequately described or illustrated. The genus Cerbalus, species of which have never before been recorded in Asia, is revised. Nonianus is likewise a new Asiatic record while Olios and Heteropoda are reported for the first time from Israel. The African Micrommata longipes Bösenberg & Lenz, 1895 is transferred to Pseudomicrommata, Cerbalus concolor Denis,1947 is newly placed in Cerbalopsis, and a new synonymy of the genus Marmarica Caporiacco,1928 with Cerbalus Simon, 1897 has been proved. The following new synonyms are defined: Heteropoda civilis (Reuss, 1834) together with Sparassus tersus (C. L. Koch, 1838), S. validus Thorell, 1875, S. cognatus O.P.-Cambridge, 1876, 5. fontanieri Simon, 1880, and Eusparassus kronebergi Denis,1958 =Sparassus walckenaeri (Audouin, 1827); Cerbalus angustifrons Denis,1960, and C. sahariensis Jézéquel & Junqua,1966 =Cerbalus pulcherrimus (Simon, 1880); Olios impediens Denis,1947 = Olios suavis (O.P.Cambridge, 1876), new combination; Cebrennus sparassoides Caporiacco, 1921 = Cebrennus castaneitarsis Simon, 1880. Two new species are described: Cerbalus psammodes and C. negebensis. Key to the genera and detailed illustrations of diagnostic characters are provided for each species, and are readily applicable to species of adjacent countries.