The phylogeny of pholcid spiders: a critical evaluation of relationships suggested by molecular data (Araneae, Pholcidae)

With almost 600 species, the latest molecular phylogeny of pholcid spiders (Eberle et al. 2018, BMC Evolutionary Biology) more than triples the largest previously available molecular phylogeny of the family. At the level of genera, the coverage is high (86%, i.e., 75 of the 87 named genera), and at the level of subfamilies it is complete. The present paper is an effort to critically evaluate the implications of this phylogeny for pholcid systematics. The analyses largely support the division of Pholcidae into five subfamilies: Ninetinae, Arteminae, Modisiminae, Smeringopinae, and Pholcinae. Their compositions are largely unchanged except that Chisosa Huber, 2000 is moved from Ninetinae to Arteminae. The positions of Artema Walckenaer, 1837 and Priscula Simon, 1893 in this system remain dubious. Relationships among subfamilies remain weakly supported, except for the sister group relationship between Smeringopinae and Pholcinae. Several major clacks within subfamilies are separated from each other along geographical boundaries: for example within Modisiminae a South American Bade and a Central + North American + Caribbean clade, and within Smeringopinae a Sub Saharan clade and a Glade ranging from the Mediterranean to Central Asia. Central + North American + Caribbean clades in both Ninetinae and Modisiminae may originate from South American ancestors. Many taxonomic changes are suggested by the data, some of which are formally implemented herein. Two new genera result from the splitting of Calapnita Simon, 1892 and Panjange Deeleman-Reinhold & Deeleman, 1983, respectively: Nipisa Huber, gen. n.; and Apokayana Huber, gen. n. Nine new genera result from splitting of Phokus: Cantikus Huber, gen. n.; Kelabita Huber, gen. n.; Kintaqa Huber, gen. n.; Muruta Huber, gen. n.; Menzha Huber, gen. n.; Paiwana Huber, gen. n.; Pribumia Huber, gen. n.; Teranga Huber, gen. n.; and Thsahamia Huber, gen. n. Two genera are newly synonymized: Platnicknia Ozdikmen & Demir, 2009 is synonymized with Modisimus Simon, 1893; Sihala Huber, 2011 is synonymized with Pholcus Walckenaer, 1805. Phokus agadir Huber, 2011 is moved to Microphokus Deeleman-Reinhold & Prinsen, 1987, resulting in the new combination Microphokus agadir (Huber, 2011).