New paper in Zoologischer Anzeiger


Morphometry of the pedipalp patella provides new characters for species-level taxonomy in whip spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi): A test case with description of a new species of Phrynus.

Seiter M Strobl L, Schwaha T, Prendini L & Schramm FD (2022).
Zoologischer Anzeiger. Link. Published online 28 February 2022


Whip spiders (Amblypygi Thorell, 1883) are easily distinguished from their spider relatives (Araneae Clerck, 1757) by their raptorial pedipalps, the second pair of appendages, which are covered in spines and used to grasp and impale prey. Among other characters, the number, distribution, and size differences among the pedipalp spines continue to be important for whip spider systematics at different levels in the taxonomic hierarchy. However, traditional meristic and qualitative characters used to describe the pedipalp spines often limit their use for species-level taxonomy, as character states are invariant or overlapping. The present study employs landmark-based morphometrics to map the morphospace comprising the prolateral surface of the pedipalp patella and its prodorsal spines in a group of Neotropical whip spiders of the genus Phrynus Lamarck, 1801, all of which share an inconspicuous spine on the prodorsal surface of the pedipalp tarsus, i.e., “group B″ proposed by Quintero (1983). The analysis presented demonstrates that the relative pedipalp patella lengths and spine to pedipalp patella width ratios are of similar use for species diagnosis as the commonly employed relative length of leg femur I. Importantly, the analysis reveals that, beyond the traditional approach of qualitatively reporting relative pedipalp patella prodorsal spine lengths (e.g., P3 > P5 > P2 > P4 > P6 > P1), the ratios between spine lengths are useful morphometric characters for species-level taxonomy in Phrynus. New morphometric ratios are provided for the species of Phrynus group B and used, together with traditional characters, to describe Phrynus guarionexi sp. nov. from the Dominican Republic. Finally, new morphological data are provided concerning the cerotegument, frontal process and prolateral surface of the pedipalp tibia in the species of group B.