Oscar F. Francke


Reconciling morphological and molecular systematics in tarantulas (Araneae: Theraphosidae): revision of the Mexican endemic genus Bonnetina

David Ortiz, Oscar F. Francke ,2017

Systematics has been formally implemented for about 250 years. In the last decades it has suffered great intellectual change, with the embrace of phylogenetic theory and the availability of molecular information. Here we conduct a systematic revision of Bonnetina, a group of tarantulas endemic to Mexico. Species delimitation is mainly conducted from the integration of morphological and molecular information. The mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) marker is used as molecular barcode, and two formal molecular delimitation methods are employed: Hard-Gap barcoding and Poisson Tree Process. In a few cases, we used geographic distribution modelling for predicting the potential distribution of species. We also make a deeper than usual integration of the molecular information in the taxonomy of the group, by providing combined morphological and molecular diagnoses of the species. From our data, we provide a new diagnosis of Bonnetina and recognize the existence of 17 solidly supported species in the genus, 10 of which are newly described. We provide a COI reference alignment to ease future molecular identifications of Bonnetina species. Our work highlights the importance of using several sources of evidence to the species delimitation problem, because any single view is prone to give biased results.

Systematic revision of Brachypelma red-kneed tarantulas (Araneae: Theraphosidae), and the use of DNA barcodes to assist in the identification and conservation of CITES-listed species

Jorge Ivan Mendoza Marroquín, Oscar F. Francke ,2017

Mexican red-kneed tarantulas of the genus Brachypelma are regarded as some of the most desirable invertebrate pets, and although bred in captivity, they continue to be smuggled out of the wild in large numbers. Species are often difficult to identify based solely on morphology, therefore prompt and accurate identification is required for adequate protection. Thus,weexplored the applicability of using COI-basedDNAbarcoding as a complementary identification tool. Brachypelma smithi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) and Brachypelma hamorii Tesmongt, Cleton & Verdez, 1997 are redescribed, and their morphological differences defined. Brachypelma annitha is proposed as a new synonym of B. smithi. The current distribution of red-kneed tarantulas shows that the Balsas River basin may act as a geographical barrier. Morphological and molecular evidence are concordant and together provide robust hypotheses for delimitingMexican red-kneed tarantula species. DNA barcoding of these tarantulas is further shown to be useful for species-level identification and for potentially preventing black market trade in these spiders. As a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) listing does not protect habitat, or control wildlifemanagement or human interactionswith organisms, it is important to support environmental conservation activities to provide an alternative income for local communities and to avoid damage to wildlife populations.

Taxonomic revision of the genus Crassicrus Reichling & West, 1996 (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Theraphosinae), with the description of additional keels on the embolus

Daniela T. Candia-Ramirez, Oscar F. Francke ,2017

Since its original description, the theraphosid spider genus Crassicrus Reichling & West, 1996 has not been revised and no new species have been described. While reviewing material deposited in the Mexican National Collection of Arachnids (National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City) and the American Museum of Natural History (New York, USA), we encountered specimens corresponding to four new species of Crassicrus from Mexico. In this revision, we include a redescription of the genus and its type species, C. lamanai Reichling & West, 1996, and describe four new species: C. bidxigui, C. tochtli, C. cocona, and C. yumkimil. Species habitat data are provided, as well as identification keys for males and females. In addition, new keels on the male embolus were identified and are described. In the Theraphosinae, the presence of one retrolateral keel has been reported, but in Crassicrus, there are two or three retrolateral keels, and a new taxonomical nomenclature for these keels is proposed. The genus Crassicrus is recorded from Mexico for the first time, increasing the number of known theraphine genera in the country to 16.

Two new species of Bonnetina tarantulas (Theraphosidae: Theraphosinae) from Mexico: contributions to morphological nomenclature and molecular characterization of types

David Ortiz, Oscar F. Francke ,2014

Two new species of tarantulas from Mexico are described and illustrated: Bonnetina tenuiverpis and Bonnetina juxtantricola, from the states of Mexico and Guerrero, respectively. Male palpal bulbs, tibial apophyses and spermatheca are among the most taxonomically informative characters. Male bulb microstructure is revealed from scanning electron microscopy; both new and homologous structures to other Theraphosinae genera are identified and described. Nomenclatural changes for male tibial apophyses are also proposed. The holotype male and allotype female of one of the species are molecularly characterized and matched from CO1 partial sequence.

Species described or mentioned