Venezuela 2020
After revising the entire pholcid collection of González Sponga in Maracay in 2018 and collecting at some of the type localities of the species he had described, I visited Venezuela again in February 2020. There were two main goals: First, to curate the collection, i.e. to make sure the material is stored in tight vials and jars, properly labeled, and correctly identified. Second, to close some of the most obvious knowledge gaps that were remaining after the first visit.

In order to close knowledge gaps we visited a number of further type localities, for example to search for unknown sexes. Numerous Venezuelan (and other) species are known from only one sex, which is roughly equivalent to knowing only half the species. Fresh material for molecular work was another goal, as DNA sequence data are often extremely helpful in establishing relationships and species limits. Old material is usually not suitable for molecular work.

Three of about 15 species of which we found the previously unknown sex: Chibchea tunebo (left), Mesabolivar pseudoblechroscelis (center), and Pisaboa laldea (right).

Some of the localities we visited, showing the extreme range of habitats in Venezuela (from top left to bottom right): La Trampa (Táchira), Las González (Mérida), Bariro (Falcón), and Guaquira (Yaracuy).

This expedition was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, project HU 980/13-1). I am most grateful to Osvaldo Villarreal and Quintin Arias for their support.