A new semi-cryptic Filistata from caves in the Levant with comments on the limits of Filistata insidiatrix (Forsskål, 1775) (Arachnida: Araneae: Filistatidae)

Ivan L.F. Magalhaes*, Shlomi Aharon, Zeana Ganem, Efrat Gavish-Regev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a new troglophilic species of Filistata, F. betarif sp. nov., collected from two caves in central Israel, by using light and electron microscopy and by DNA barcoding of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene. Sequences of this gene show more than 15% of divergence between the new species and its sibling, F. insidiatrix (Forsskål, 1775), which is widely distributed across the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Notwithstanding, the two species are diagnosed only by a minor morphological detail in the embolic keel of the male pedipalp; females of both species are not diagnosable based only on morphology. We also find that samples of F. insidiatrix from different localities have large genetic divergence values (larger than 15% in some cases), but their pedipalps are identical in males; this suggests that F. insidiatrix might hide an additional cryptic diversity. We take this opportunity to provide a dichotomous key for identifying the crevice-weavers (Filistatidae) of Israel and Palestine.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)149-174
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of Taxonomy
StatePublished - 18 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are deeply indebted to curators and curatorial staff from the collections holding the material studied in this revision: L. Prendini, L. Sorkin, P. Colmenares, and the late N. Platnick (AMNH), L. Esposito, D. Ubick, C. Griswold, A. Carmichael (CAS), M. Arnedo (CRBA), M. Ramírez, C. Grismado (MACN) G. Giribet, L. Leibensperger (MCZ), A. Kury (MNRJ), D. Van den Spiegel, R. Jocqué (MRAC), P. Jäger, Julia Altmann (SMF), S. Zonstein (SMNH), D. DeRoche, J. Coddington, H. Wood (USNM), J. Dunlop and A. Friederichs (ZMB). We specially thank L. Esposito, L. Leibensperger, P. Jäger, and S. Zonstein for their warm reception during visits to their institutions by ILFM. We thank A. Frumkin, B. Langford, and E. Cohen (Israel cave Research Center) for assistance with cave data and in the field. Field work was conducted under collection permits 2013/40027, 2013/40085, 2014/40313, and 2020/42450 from the Israel National Parks Authority to E.G.-R., and was funded by the Israel Taxonomy Initiative (ITI) biodiversity survey grant and ISF (2656/20) and BSF (2019216) grants to E.G.-R. This research received further support from the SYNTHESYS+ Project (www.synthesys.info/) which is financed by the European Commission via the H2020 Research Infrastructure programme (grant IL-TAF-1327), a Vincent Roth Fund for Systematics Research from the American Arachnological Society, Fondo para la Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (PICT 2017-2689), and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (PUE 098) to ILFM. ILFM was supported by a CONICET postdoctoral fellowship, SA was supported by ITI, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem fellowships, and ZG by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem fellowship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. All rights reserved.


  • DNA barcoding
  • Israel
  • Mediterranean
  • Palestine
  • troglophile


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