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- Selenops Latreille 1819: 579. Type species Selenops radiatus Latreille, 1819, by original designation.
- Orops Benoit 1968: 116. Type species Selenops littoricola Strand, 1913, by original designation. Synonymized by Corronca (1996: 60).
- Selenops bursarius Karsch 1879: 81, plate 1, fig. 2.
- Selenops henanensis Zhu and Mao 1983: 151, figs a-e. Synonymized by Zhu et al. (1990).
- Selenops ollarius Zhu et al. 1990: 32, figs 9–10.
- Selenops cordatus Zhu et al. 1990: 31, figs 5–8. syn. n.
All members of this genus can be distinguished from other genera by the ventral spination on the tibiae and metatarsi of legs I and II, where there are 3 pairs of spines on the tibiae, and 2 pairs of spines on the metatarsi.
Despite the amount of recent work that has been done on the family, there is still some difficulty in determining boundaries of genera, in particular with the genus Selenops. (Corronca (1998, 2002) has provided diagnoses of the genera of Selenopidae, but there are many variations, and several species considered in the present study do not quite fit into the genus Selenops as currently defined. Walckenaer (1837) first recognized three groups based on characteristics of the chelicerae, labium and leg lengths. These characters were not substantiated by Simon (1880) who attempted to divide the family into Old and New World species based on eye size. In the New World, F. O. Pickard-Cambridge (1900) first distinguished species using eye size and position along with genitalic characters. (Petrunkevitch (1925, 1930) divided these species into groups and described new species based on leg proportions. In 1953, Muma established six species groups for species from North and Central America and the Caribbean based on leg lengths, eye size and position, and genitalic characters. Current authors (Alayón-García 1992, 2001, 2003, 2005; Valdez-Mondragon 2007, 2010) still use these characters and groupings despite variation and species that do not fit into any group (Crews in press).
Additionally, molecular phylogenetic work (Crews and Gillespie 2010) and morphological data indicate that the monophyly of the genus Selenops is somewhat questionable. In the molecular phylogenies, Selenops is either para- or polyphyletic, though these results lack significant support in all trees. The para- and polyphyly occurs between the Old and New World selenopids. That is, the New World selenopids are monophyletic, and the Old World selenopids are not. Benoit (1968, p. 118) noted that American Selenops are very different from the African ones, and that they have nothing at the generic level in common with species from the Old World. He suggested that they should be the object of a new classification. Unfortunately, he did not elaborate further. We examined multiple species of New and Old World Selenops, but we have no better conclusion than Benoit (1968). We are unable to find any morphological characters that consistently differentiate Old and New World Selenops, and do not have enough molecular data from Old World species, and thus the genus is retained for both groups at this time.
Total length 4–20. Cephalothorax: Carapace with some marks, wider than long; long, narrow fovea with 6 radiating lines. Setae either plumose or stiff, sometimes both types occur on same specimen; clypeus low. Eyes: 6 eyes in anterior row, either in a straight line or slightly recurved; PME larger than AME in most specimens, but in some specimens equal or, rarely, smaller; eye size occasionally differs between sexes of same species; Chelicerae slightly geniculate, robust, with 3 prolateral and 2 retrolateral teeth. Legs: Leg II longer than leg IV in most species, however, this is not always the case. Leg lengths are highly variable in this genus, and do not seem to be a good indicator of phylogeny or classification; tibia and metatarsai with 3 and 2 ventral spines, respectively. Tarsal, and in some species, metatarsal scopulae present, especially in females. Female copulatory organs: Epigynum usually with lateral lobes, occasionally with epigynal pockets; some species have a posterodorsal fold (Crews, in press), which is an extension of the external copulatory organs that folds in and may cover spermathecae or internal ducts. Male copulatory organs: Tibia typically with 2, and in some species 3 apophyses, with dorsal apophysis longer than ventral one in most species; median apophysis is one or two branched, and can be translucent, or with one or both branches sclerotized.
Selenops occurs in the New World from southern North America, throughout Central America, to southern South America, including islands in the Caribbean Sea. In the Old World, Selenops occurs throughout Africa, the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Asia including Japan and Taiwan.
Currently there are 124 species of Selenops described. Revisionary work of the African Selenops species was done first by Lawrence (1940), followed by Benoit (1968), and Corronca (2002). Corronca (2001) has also described new species from the African region. Selenops radiatus, the type of the genus, is the most widespread species, occurring from northern Africa, throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean and into India and China. In the New World, Muma (1953) revised the North American, Central American and Caribbean Selenopidae. Corronca (1998) revised South American representatives. Alayón-García (2005) has revised the Cuban species and reviewed and described species from other Caribbean islands such as Jamaica (Alayón-García 2003), the Dominican Republic (Alayón-García 1992), and Curaçao (Alayón-García 2001). (Valdez-Mondragón (2007, 2010) has also described a handful of species from México. The most recent revision of the North and Central American and Caribbean species was done by Crews (in press). Below we include a special section reviewing the Selenops species found in China, as the literature is difficult to obtain.
Selenops from China The Chinese species have been reviewed by Zhu et al. (1990). Currently, there are only three species described from this vast region, one of which is widespread throughout eastern Asia, including China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and one has the largest range of any member of the genus. Here we review the species, synonymize one species, and provide collecting localities, information on the types and some natural history data.
- Crews, S; Harvey, M; 2011: The spider family Selenopidae (Arachnida, Araneae) in Australasia and the Oriental Region ZooKeys, 99: 1-104. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.99.723
- Latreille P (1819) Articles sur les araignées. Nouveau Dictionnaire d’histoire Naturelle Paris Ed. II, Paris, 22.
- Benoit P (1968) Les Selenopidae africains au Nord du 17e parallèle Sud et reclassement des espèces africaines de la famille (Araneae). Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines 77:113-141.
- Corronca J (1996) Three new species of Selenops Latreille (Araneae, Selenopidae) from northern Brazil. Journal of Arachnology 24:68-71.
- Karsch F (1879) Baustoffe zu einer Spinnenfauna von Japan. Verhandlungen des Naturhistorischen Vereins der Preussischen Rheinlande, Westfalens und des Reg.-Bez. Osnabrück 36:57-105.
- Zhu C, Mao J (1983) A new species of spider of the genus Selenops from China (Araneae: Selenopidae). Journal of the Norman Bethune Medical University 9: 135–137. [in Chinese]
- Zhu C, Sha Y, Chen X (1990) Description of the genus Selenops from Sichuan Province, China (Araneae, Selenopidae). Journal of the Norman Bethune Medical University 16: 30–33. [in Chinese]
- Corronca J (1998) The South American spiders of the genus Selenops (Araneae, Selenopidae) with a description of three new species. Studies of Neotropical Fauna and the Environment 33:124-148. doi: 10.1076/snfe.126.96.36.1993
- Corronca J (2002) A taxonomic revision of the afrotropical species of Selenops Latreille, 1819 (Araneae, Selenopidae). Zootaxa 107:1-35.
- Walckenaer C (1837) Histoire naturelle des insects. Aptères. Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret, Paris, 1:1-682.
- Simon E (1880) Révision de la famille des Sparassidae (Arachnides). Acta Société Linnéenne de Bordeaux 34:223-351.
- Pickard-Cambridge F (1900) Arachnida-Araneida. In Biología Centrali-Americana, Zoology. Taylor and Francis, London 1:233-288.
- Petrunkevitch A (1925) Arachnida from Panamá. Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 27:51-248.
- Petrunkevitch A (1930) The spiders of Porto Rico. Part three. Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 31:1-191.
- Alayón-García G (1992) La familia Selenopidae (Arachnida: Araneae) en República Dominicana. Poeyana 419:1-10.
- Alayón-García G (2001) Especie nueve de Selenops (Araneae: Selenopidae) de Curazao, Antillas Holandesas. Solenodon 1:17-20.
- Alayón-García G (2003) La familia Selenopidae (Arachnida: Araneae) en Jamaic. Revista Ibérica Aracnología 8:117-122.
- Alayón-García G (2005) La familia Selenopidae (Arachnida: Araneae) en Cuba. Solenodon 5:10-52.
- Crews S (in press) A revision of the spider genus Selenops (Arachnida, Araneae, Selenopidae) in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. ZooKeys.
- Crews S, Gillespie R (2010) Molecular systematic of Selenops spiders (Araneae: Selenopidae) from North and Central America: implications for Caribbean biogeography. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 101:288-322. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2010.01494.x
- Lawrence R (1940) The genus Selenops (Araneae) in South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 32:555-608.
- Corronca J (2001) Three new species of Selenops Latreille, 1819 (Aranei: Selenopidae) from Afrotropical region. Arthropoda Selecta 10:55-58.
- Muma M (1953) A study of the spider family Selenopidae in North and Central America and the West Indies. American Museum Novitates 1619:1-55.
- Valdez-Mondragón A (2007) A new species of the selenopid crab-spider genus Selenops Latreille, 1819 (Araneae: Selenopidae) from Guerrero, México. Zootaxa 1449:65-68.
- Valdez-Mondragón A (2010) Two new species of spiders of the genus Selenops Latreille, 1819 (Araneae: Selenopidae) and redescription of Selenops scitus Muma, 1953 from México. Zootaxa 2334:47-58.