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Keywords:

  • genital mechanics;
  • functional morphology;
  • Araneae;
  • Pholcidae;
  • systematics

Abstract

Genital mechanics are studied in five species from three genera of neotropical pholcid spiders. The study focuses on the function of a pointed and upward projecting (‘pup’) apophysis on the male pedipalpal femur: it engages an indentation in the genital bulb during copulation. This character is geographically restricted to spiders in Central and North America and the West Indies and is considered a key character of the monophyletic ‘Modisimus group’. This includes the genera Modisimus Simon, 1893, Psilochorus Simon, 1893, Bryantina Brignoli, 1985, Anopsicus Chamberlin & Ivie, 1938, and some species now misplaced in Coryssocnemis Simon, 1893 and Blechroscelis Simon, 1893. Evidence for the polyphyly of the following genera is presented: Psilochorus, Coryssocnemis, and Blechroscelis. Some notes on the reproductive biology of the species studied are briefly presented.