Uganda 2010

In November and December 2010 I visited the western region of Uganda. Uganda has a series of well preserved forests along its western border, and I had the opportunity to collect in several National Parks like Mgahinga Gorilla N.P., Bwindi Impenetrable Forest N.P. (foto below), Ruwenzori Mountains N.P., Kibale N.P., and in some Forest Reserves like Kalinzu F.R., Kasyoha-Kitomi F.R., and Budongo F.R.


The aim was a general inverntory of pholcid spiders, bult like a few months earlier in Kenya, I was again interested to see up to which altitude pholcid spiders do occur. On Mt. Kenya I had found Spermophora minotaura at 3580 m, so I went up on Ruwenzori Mountains until no more pholcids could be found. The highest point was Bujongolo shelter, where I found a male (and many webs) of a new species of Smeringopus as high as 3780 m, close to the site shown below. We continued the search up to 4000 m, but no higher specimen could be found. In the meantime the species has been described, and named for the locality: Smeringopus bujongolo (Huber 2012).


baboonLike in Kenya, species diversity was rather low, and except for a few species, my hope to find representatives of the Congolese fauna was mostly frustrated. Nevertheless, with about ten new species of pholcid spiders the collecting trip can be considered fairly successful. The material has been published in three papers: on Pholcus (Huber 2011), on Smeringopus (Huber 2012), and on Eastern African pholcid spiders (Huber & Warui 2012). In addition, several specimens were sequenced and used in the most recent molecular phylogeny of Pholcidae (Dimitrov et al. 2012).


I owe thanks to Gerald Eilu for help with permits and preparations, and to Aggrey Kushemererwa for being a reliable driver
and companion. Thanks is also due the German Research Foundation for financing this expedition (DFG Project HU 980/9-1).