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Keywords:

  • 28S ;
  • mtDNA ;
  • new genus ;
  • new species ;
  • taxon description

The taxonomy and systematics of European house spiders, currently constituting the ill-defined Tegenaria−Malthonica complex (including Aterigena) in the family Agelenidae, are revised. In Europe four monophyletic genera and 81 species are defined. One genus, Eratigena gen. nov., and seven species are described as new; at species level 17 new synonyms and 20 new combinations are proposed, and the original combination of 14 species is reinstated. Five species could not be placed (incertae sedis) because of insufficient material and one taxon is regarded as ‘nomen dubium’. On the basis of a detailed morphological assessment, 88 characters were chosen for a cladistic analysis. Phylogenetically informative characters include mostly spination patterns as well as spinneret and genital structures. In addition to morphology, three gene sections [cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase subunit 1 (NADH1) 28S] were analysed. Morphological and molecular analyses were performed individually and in combination applying maximum parsimony and Bayesian tree search methods. In all resulting trees Malthonica and Tegenaria in their present composition are either polyphyletic or paraphyletic. Consequently, we redefined the two genera and erected a new genus, Eratigena gen. nov. Identification keys are provided for the European agelenid genera as well as for the European species of Tegenaria and Eratigena gen. nov. The genera and most of the constituent species are described and illustrated. The new classification has also been applied to some extra European members of the Tegenaria-Malthonica complex resulting in additional three new synonyms, seven reversals to the original combination, and four new combinations. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London