Molecular phylogeny and revision of the false violin spiders (Araneae: Drymusidae) of Africa

The family Drymusidae includes 16 cryptic spiders that build irregular webs in dark places. The family is distributed in South Africa, the Neotropical and Andean regions. Here, we use a molecular approach to infer the relationships of Drymusidae using three mitochondrial (COI, 16S, 12S) and three nuclear (H3, 28S, 18S) markers. Our preferred analyses support Drymusidae and its American and African clades, which emerge as sister groups. Our analyses suggest a Gondwanan distribution of Drymusidae and a Westward radiation of Izithunzi gen. nov. within South Africa, but both hypotheses remain to be thoroughly tested. We describe Izithunzi gen. nov. for the African species. All previous African species are redescribed and new combinations are proposed: Izithunzi capense (Simon) comb. nov., Izithunzi productum (Purcell) comb. nov. and Izithunzi silvicola (Purcell) comb. nov. Two new species are described: Izithunzi lina sp. nov. (known from both sexes) and Izithunzi zondii sp. nov. (known only from females). The male of I. productum (Purcell) comb. nov. is also described for the first time. We consider Loxosceles valida Lawrence, 1964, a junior synonym of I. capense (Simon) comb. nov. (new synonymy). We also provide a dichotomous key for Izithunzi gen. nov. species.
Keywords
Gondwana;  target-genes;  Scytodoidea;  Synspermiata

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