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A taxonomic revision of the orb-weaving spider genus Acusilas Simon, 1895 (Araneae, Araneidae)

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The spider genus Acusilas Simon, 1895 (Araneidae) is revised. It includes Acusilas africanus Simon, 1895; Acusilas callidus sp. n.; Acusilas coccineus Simon, 1895; Acusilas dahoneus Barrion & Litsinger, 1995; Acusilas lepidus (Thorell, 1898); Acusilas malaccensis Murphy & Murphy, 1983; Acusilas spiralis sp. n.; Acusilas vei sp. n.; Acusilas vilei sp. n., and one unassigned species of Acusilas from Sulawesi for which only females are available. The status of Acusilas lepidus (Thorell, 1898) is uncertain and the species is here considered incertae sedis. The unknown male of Acusilas africanus Simon, 1895 is described and illustrated for the first time and Acusilas gentingensis (Murphy & Murphy) is a synonym of Acusilas coccineus Simon, 1895. A phylogenetic analysis of the matrix of Scharff & Coddington (1997) with the addition of Acusilas coccineus, suggests sistergroup relationship between Acusilas and cyrthophorines (Cyrthophora and Mecynogea). This knowledge is used to select 6 outgroup taxa for a phylogenetic analysis based on 39 morphological characters scored for the 9 known species of Acusilas. The phylogenetic analysis supports the monophyly of Acusilas, but ingroup relationships are only weakly supported.


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