Argentina 2019
The first expedition in the project on the pholcid subfamily Ninetinae brought me to Argentina in March 2019. Argentina is home to several genera of Ninetinae, and previous collectors have found these tiny spiders in numerous places, so our chances to find large series suitable for genomic work appeared good. We started at Cordoba and travelled some 5500 km through the provinces of San Juan, La Rioja, Catamarca, Tucumán, Salta, and Jujuy, sifting the leaf litter and turning thousands of rocks.

These are representatives of the three Ninetinae genera known to occur in Argentina: Gertschiola (left), Nerudia (center), and Guaranita (right). The biggest surprise was the diversity of Nerudia, at that point a monotypic genus. We found about 10 species, one of them at 4450 m above sea level (highest known pholcid record). Of Guaranita, we found all four currently known species (plus a new one). The results on Nerudia and Guaranita have been published in 2023.

My summary of this trip might be like this: magnificent oversized landscapes; an amazing variety of amazingly obstinate and obstructive spines and throns;
and Ninetinae almost everywhere but most of them barely visible, the size of a dot.

I thank Matias Izquierdo for his help with preparations and for being a great companion in the field, and the German Research Foundation (project HU980/13-1) for financial support.