Tarsal Organ Morphology and the Phylogeny of Goblin Spiders (Araneae, Oonopidae), With Notes on Basal Genera

Norman I. Platnick, Naiara Abrahim, Fernando Alvarez-Padilla, Daniela Andriamalala, Barbara C. Baehr, Leon Baert, Alexandre B. Bonaldo, Antonio D. Brescovit, Natalia Chousou-Polydouri, Nadine Duperre, Beata Eichenberger, Wouter Fannes, Eva Gaublomme, Rosemary G. Gillespie, Cristian J. Grismado, Charles E. Griswold, Mark S. Harvey, Arnaud Henrard, Gustavo Hormiga, Matias A. IzquierdoRudy Jocque, Yvonne Kranz-Baltensperger, Christian Kropf, Ricardo Ott, Martin J. Ramirez, Robert J. Raven, Cristina A. Rheims, Gustavo R. S. Ruiz, Adalberto J. Santos, Alma Saucedo, Petra Sierwald, Tamas Szuets, Darrell Ubick, Xin-Ping Wang

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53 Citations (Web of Science)


Based on a survey of a wide variety of oonopid genera and outgroups, we hypothesize new synapomorphies uniting the Oonopidae (minus the South African genus Calculus Purcell, which is transferred to the Orsolobidae). The groundplan of the tarsal organ in Oonopidae is hypothesized to be an exposed organ with a distinctive, longitudinal ridge originating from the proximal end of the organ, and a serially dimorphic pattern of 4-4-3-3 raised receptors on legs I-IV, respectively. Such organs typify the diverse, basal, and ancient genus Orchestina Simon. Several other genera whose members resemble Orchestina in retaining two plesiomorphic features (an H-shaped, transverse eye arrangement and a heavily sclerotized, thick-walled sperm duct within the male palp) are united by having tarsal organs that are partly (in the case of Cortestina Knoflach) or fully capsulate (in the case of Sulsula Simon, Xiombarg Brignoli, and Unicorn Platnick and Brescovit). The remaining oonopids are united by the loss of the heavily sclerotized palpal sperm duct, presumably reflecting a significant transformation in palpal mechanics. Within that large assemblage, a 4-4-3-3 tarsal organ receptor pattern and an H-shaped eye arrangement seem to be retained only in the New Zealand genus Kapitia Forster; the remaining genera are apparently united by a reduction in the tarsal organ pattern to 3-3-2-2 raised receptors on legs I-TV and by the acquisition of a clumped eye arrangement. Three subfamilies of oonopids are recognized: Orchestininae Chamberlin and Ivie (containing only Orchestina; Ferchestina Saaristo and Marusik is placed as a junior synonym of Orchestina), Sulsulinae, new subfamily (containing Sulsula, Xiombarg, Unicorn, and Cortestina), and Oonopinae Simon (containing all the remaining genera, including those previously placed in the Gamasomorphinae). The type species of Sulsula and Kapitia, S. pauper (O. P.-Cambridge) and K. obscura Forster, are redescribed, and the female of S. pauper is described for the first time. A new sulsuline genus, Dalmasula, is established for Sulsula parvimana Simon and four new species from Namibia and South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-52
Number of pages52
JournalAmerican Museum Novitates
Issue number3736
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2012


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