Rainer Breitling


DNA barcode sequencing has rapidly become one of the most powerful tools for biodiversity assessments. Beyond its original uses for the identification of animal species, including the discovery of cryptic diversity in difficult taxonomic groups, the growing public sequence datasets also offer opportunities for more wide-ranging applications. This contribution shows how barcode data can provide useful complementary information to assist taxonomic decision making at the genus level. An analysis of public barcode datasets for 10 diverse spider families, covering more than 3400 species and morphospecies, reveals numerous examples where sequence similarities either strongly support or convincingly refute recent controversial genus assignments. The following nomenclatorial changes are suggested based on a combined assessment of morphological evidence and the barcode analysis: Acantholycosa = Pardosa (syn. nov.); Piratula = Pirata (syn. nov.); Pulchellodromus, Philodromimus, Tibellomimus, Artanes, and Emargidromus = subgenera of Philodromus (stat. nov.); Cryptachaea riparia = Parasteatoda riparia (comb. nov.); Ohlertidion = Heterotheridion (syn. nov.); Saaristoa = Aphileta (syn. nov.); Aphileta microtarsa = Eulaira microtarsa (comb. conf.); Centromerita and Tallusia = Centromerus (syn. conf.); Obscuriphantes, Agnyphantes, and Acanthoneta = Poeciloneta (syn. nov.); Bolyphantes bipartitus = Poeciloneta bipartita (comb. nov.); Anguliphantes, Improphantes, Piniphantes, and Mansuphantes = Oryphantes (syn. nov.), Palliduphantes antroniensis = Oryphantes antroniensis (comb. nov.), Lepthyphantes nodifer = Oryphantes nodifer (comb. nov.), Hypositticus, Sittipub, Calositticus, Sittisax, Sittiflor, and Attulus = Sitticus (syn. nov.).

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