Systematic revision of Mexican threatened tarantulas Brachypelma (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Theraphosinae), with a description of a new genus, and implications on the conservation
Jorge Ivan Mendoza Marroquín, Oscar F. Francke
The tarantula genus Brachypelma includes colourful species that are highly sought after in the commercial pet trade. They are all included in CITES appendix II. We present phylogenetic analyses using molecular and morphological characters to revise Brachypelma, in which we include all currently known species. Our results agree with a previous study that shows the non-monophyly of Brachypelma. Both phylogenies strongly favour the division of Brachypelma into two smaller genera. The first clade (Brachypelma s.s.) is formed by B.albiceps, B. auratum, B. baumgarteni, B. boehmei, B. emilia, B. hamorii, B. klaasi and B. smithi. The species included in the second clade are transferred to the new genus Tliltocatl and is formed by T. albopilosum comb. nov., T. epicureanum comb. nov., T. kahlenbergi comb. nov., T. sabulosum comb. nov., T. schroederi comb. nov., T. vagans comb. nov. and T. verdezi comb. nov. Both genera can be differentiated by their coloration and the shape of the genitalia. We transfer to Tliltocatl: T. alvarezi, T. andrewi and T. aureoceps, but should be considered as nomina dubia. In addition, we transfer B. fossorium to Stichoplastoris. We discuss the implications of these taxonomical changes for CITES and for the Mexican Laws for wildlife protection.