Gnaphosid spiders from Israel of the genera Setaphis, Trachyzelotes, the species-rich Zelotes, and Drassyllus have been revised. Thirty-six species, more than in the whole of Central Europe, are recognized, including 16 species new to science and six that have never before been recorded from this region. All types and pertinent non-type material deposited in a great number of European collections have been re-examined, and the systematics, ecology, and the Zoogeographie distribution of all taxa treated are discussed. Many species have never been adequately described, and detailed illustrations of diagnostic characters along with updated records are provided for each species. The following new synonyms are defined: Zelotes longestylus (Caporiacco, 1936), Z. caporiaccoi Roewer, 1951, and Z. stylus Di Franco, 1992 = Setaphis fuscipes (Simon, 1885); Zelotes costatus Denis, 1952 = Trachyzelotes bardiae (Caporiacco, 1928) new combination; Zelotes inauratus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872) and Z. tristiculus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1874) = Zelotes laetus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872); Zelotes picinus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872), Z. scutatus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872), Z. curinus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1874), Setaphis bicolor Simon, 1908, Drassodes cofiniotes Roewer, 1928, and Zelotes simplex Denis, 1937 = Zelotes scrutatus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872) new combination; Zelotes pyrethri (Strand, 1915) = Zelotes tenuis (L. Koch, 1866); Scotophaeus blepharotrichus Strand, 1915 = Zelotes rusticus (L. Koch, 1872); Drassodes citipes Simon, 1893 and D. lutorius Tullgren, 1910, in part: fig.15b = Zelotes infumatus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872) new combination. The new species described are: Zelotes xerophilus, Z. eremus, Z. galuni, Z. meronensis, Z. bashaneus, Z. parascrutatus, Z. zin, Z. shaked, Z. bokerensis, Z. hierosolymitanus, Z. solstitialis, Z. incisupalpis, Z. aradensis, Z. helvoloides, Z. sumchi, and Drassyllus jubatopalpis.
The female of Anagraphis vitellina from Israel is matched and newly synonymized with the male of the type-species, A. pallens, from South Africa. Their drawings are published for the first time along with a new species from Israel, A. pori. The type-species Talanites fervidus, known previously only from a single male from Israel, has been found again, and a female from the type locality is described for the first time.
Rare orb-weaver spiders of the genera Cyrtarachne and Glyptogona from Israel are described. The local Cyclosa species with their peculiar distribution are discussed along with the infrequently encountered Cyrtophora species. In addition, the occasionally common species of the often confounded Araneinae genera Araneus, Aculepeira, Gibbaranea, Agalenatea, Neoscona, Pararaneus, and Larinioides are reviewed. The nomenclature of Larinioides suspicax is also addressed. Four sizeable Argiope species, some formerly unknown from Israel, are described. The following new synonyms are recognized: Aranea lunulifera Reimoser, 1938 = Pararaneus spectator (Karsch, 1886); Epeira perplicata O.P.-Cambridge, 1872 = Neoscona subfusca (C. L. Koch, 1837), and Araneus cornutus orientalis Fage, 1921 = Larinioides suspicax (O.P.-Cambridge, 1876). The validity of the subspecies Araneus armida canescens Simon, 1908, is rejected, and Epeira modesta Simon, 1890, is newly transferred to Neoscona. Two new species are described: Cyclosa deserticola and Neoscona sodom. Illustrations of diagnostic characters, records of distribution, and pertinent literature are provided for each species.
Israeli spiders of six gnaphosid genera: Phaeocedus, Poecilochroa, Scotophaeus, Megamyrmaekion, Leptodrassus, and Odontodrassus are revised. Only two of these taxa, namely, Leptodrassus and Scotophaeus, were previously reported from Israel, the latter albeit owing to erroneous determinations. Scotophaeus is herein newly recorded from Israel based on different species. Two genera, Poecilochroa and Odontodrassus, both with species formerly described from Israel, were not previously recognized from this country. Two additional genera, Phaeocedus and Megamyrmaekion, were not known to be represented in Israel. Adults of the type-species of Megamyrmaekion, known so far only by an immature specimen, are described, and the type of the minute Leptodrassus tenerrimus is newly designated. The following new synonyms are defined: Drassus campestratus O.P.-Cambridge, 1874 and Drassus dimidiatus Simon, 1878 = Poecilochroa senilis (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872) comb, n.; Poecilochroa lesserti Denis, 1947 = Poecilochroa pugnax O.P.-Cambridge, 1874; Megamyrmecion holosericeum Simon, 1882 and Megamyrmecium pallescens Denis, 1955 = Megamyrmaekion vulpinum (O.P.-Cambridge, 1874) comb, n.; Poecilochroa monodi Fage, 1929 = Odontodrassus mundulus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872) comb. n. The new species described are Phaeocedus hebraeus, Poecilochroa golan, P. taborensis, Scotophaeus subcorticis, and Odontodrassus aravensis.
Small gnaphosid spiders of the genera Micaria and Aphantaulax in Israel are revised. Six species of Micaria and two of Aphantaulax are diagnosed and illustrated. The previously unknown female of Micaria corvina Simon, 1878 is described and both sexes are figured for the first time. Micaria dives (Lucas, 1846), Micaria corvina Simon, 1878, and Aphantaulax cincta (L. Koch, 1866) are recorded for the first time from Israel. The following new synonyms are recognized: Micaria pygmaea Kroneberg, 1875; Aphantaulax troxochroides Strand, 1915 = Micaria ignea O.P.-Cambridge, 1872; and Aphantaulax seminigra Simon, 1878 = A. trifasciata (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872).
All the taxa discussed, except for one, are barely known from the Middle East. The spider families Anyphaenidae and Hahniidae are recorded from Israel for the first time. Although Anyphaena syriaca was known from its sole record from Beirut, Lebanon, over ninety years ago, the European Hahnia candida reported here from Israel is the first hahniid found in the Middle East. The Ctenidae was known from this part of the world only by the record of a very young specimen collected in Israel in 1865. Newly collected adults and young proved to belong to Anahita, a genus not formerly known from west Asia. Zoridae that were reported from Israel by Strand in 1915 are misidentifications of Zora manicata, not formerly known from the Middle East. In addition, a new zorid genus and new species, Israzorides judaeus, are described. Of the Hersiliidae with the exceptionally long spinnerets, only very few specimens of Hersilia caudata, not formerly known from Israel, were collected in the southern parts of the country. Hersiliids with relatively short spinnerets are represented in Israel by two species: the rather common Hersiliola simonii and the less abundant H. macullulata. The latter is recorded for the first time from Israel. The following new synonyms are recognized: Zora jaffana Strand, 1915 = Zora manicata Simon, 1878; and Hersiliola lucasii O.P.-Cambridge, 1876 = Hersiliola simonii (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872).
The Gnaphosidae of Israel are addressed in general and the genera Drassodes and Haplodrassus are reviewed in particular. With a great many synonyms and misidentifications cleared up, seven species of Drassodes and eight species of Haplodrassus are recognized. Detailed diagnostic illustrations and comments on the systematics, ecology, records, and the pertinent literature are provided for each species. The following new synonyms are defined: Drassodes chybyndensis Esyunin and Tuneva, 2001 = D. lacertosus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872); D. rehobothicus Strand, 1915, D. pseudomorosus Strand, 1915, and D. omalosis Roewer, 1928 = D. unicolor (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872); D. louisianus Roddy, 1957 = D. serratichelis (Roewer, 1928); D. maindroni Simon, 1897, D. persimilis Denis, 1937, and D. mazurae Esyunin and Tuneva, 2001 = D. lutescens (C.L. Koch, 1839); D. aegyptius O.P.-Cambridge, 1874 and D. cyrenaicus Caporiacco, 1933 = D. alexandrinus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1874); Haplodrassus gridellii Caporiacco, 1949 = H. pugnans (Simon, 1880); Drassus denotatus O.P.-Cambridge, 1874, Drassodes palaestinensis Strand, 1915, Scotophaeus desertorum Caporiacco, 1928, and Haplodrassusmaroccanus Denis, 1956 = H. dalmatensis (L. Koch, 1866); Scotophaeuswalteri Roewer, 1928 = H. creticus (Roewer, 1928); H. vignai Di Franco, 1996 = H. invalidus (O.P.-Cambridge, 1872). The new species described are: Haplodrassus mediterraneus, H. atarot, and H. lilliputanus.
The first record for the genus Mesobuthus in Israel is herein reported based onadult specimens of Mesobuthus nigrocinctus (Ehrenberg, 1828), n. comb.(Scorpiones, Buthidae) from Mt. Hermon, the southernmost ridge of the Anti-Lebanon range. This species was originally described from a juvenile specimen from Lebanon, and for a long time was considered a synonym of M. gibbosus (Brullé, 1832). The species is redescribed, illustrated, and compared to M. gibbosus, its closest relative. Some comments on the fauna of Mt.Hermon are included.