Sunday 6 July 2014

A new species of blind Cave Spider from Keloğlan Cave in Denizli Province, Turkey.

Cave Spiders (Nesticidae) are found across the Mediterranean Basin, as well as in the Canary Islands and parts of Asia. They are cave-dwelling Spiders, which often show features of adaptation common to Spiders that lifve underground, such as loss of colouration and elongation of the limbs. Species within the groups tend to be easy to identify, with distinctive genital morphology, but relationships within the group are poorly understood, and it is likely that the genera used do not reflect evolutionary relationships.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 23 June 2013, Carles Ribera of the Departament de Biologia Animal at the Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat at the Universitat de Barcelona, Mert Elverici of the Department of Biology at the Faculty of Science and Arts at the University of Erzincan, Kadir Boğaç Kunt of Ankara and Recep Sulhi Özkütük of the Department of Biology at the Faculty of Science at Anadolu University describe a new species of Cave Spider from Keloğlan Cave in Denizli Province, Turkey.

The new species is placed within the genus Typhlonesticus, which currently contains a single species from Macedonia, and is given the specific name gocmeni, in honour of Bayram Göçmen of the University of Ege, a distinguished Turkish biologist. Typhlonesticus gocmeni is a yellowish-white Cave Spider 2.75-3.24 cm in length, with the females being larger than the males. The species is described from a population in the Keloğlan Cave in the northern part of the West Taurus karst region, which is a popular tourist attraction. The population of Spiders there was first described in 2013, and initially identified as belonging to the species Nesticus morisii.

(20) Male Typhlonesticus gocmeni on web. (21) Female Typhlonesticus gocmeni. Ribera et al. (2014).

The approximate location of Keloğlan Cave. Google Maps.

Ribera et al. also carried out a genetic analysis of the relationships between several species of Cave Spiders from the genera Nesticus, Carpathonesticus and Typhlonesticus, from which it is concluded that the species Nesticus idriacus, Nesticus morisii and Nesticus obcaecatus should all be transferred to the genus Typhlonesticus in order to more accurately reflect evolutionary relationships.

ML tree inferred using the concatenated dataset of cox1, rrnL mtDNA and H3 nuDNA gene fragments. Numbers next to nodes correspond to bootstrap support values. The tree was rooted using Canarionesticus quadridentatus from the Canary Islands. Ribera et al. (2014).

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