Revision of Trabea from 2016-04-25 08:25



The genus Trabea seems to reach its highest diversity in South Africa with seven species occurring there. Besides this, two species are quite widespread in the Mediterranean area, north of the Sahara. Both these regions are amongst the better surveyed areas in Africa, and this might bias certain zoogeographical interpretations. In central and eastern Africa, four species are now known, two of which seem restricted to Malawi. Although extensive collections exist for instance from Congo (Zaire), only one Trabea species is known from that country. The diversity observed in Malawi is striking but not new. In several other spider families and other arthropod groups, the mountain forest relicts seem to contain a special fauna. The new T. setula found in Malawi, Nyika plateau is clearly closely related to T. purcelli known from the Cape. This again might be an indication of the historical connection between forested areas of both regions. However, there seems to be no reason why the genus should not be present in other geographically intermediate countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana or Mozambique. As far as can be judged from the very poor biological data, most species are in no way restricted to forests (cf. Russell-Smith 1982). Both new species from Malawi are so far restricted to montane areas, as is the case for T. ornatipalpis from South Africa and T. heteroculata from Ruanda, Malawi and Tanzania. 


The following valid species of Trabea are now known from the African continent andthe Mediterranean region: cazorla Snazell 1983 (Spain and north Africa, ? & / known), heteroculata Strand 1913 (Ruanda, Tanzania and Kenya, ? & / known), natalensis Russell-Smith 1982 (Natal, South Africa, only ? known), nigriceps Purcell 1903 (Cape, South Africa, ? & / known), nigristernis new species (Malawi, ? & / known), ornatipalpis Russell-Smith 1982 (Natal and Cape, South Africa, ? & / known), paradoxa Simon 1876 (Mediterranean Europe and north Africa, ? & / known), purcelli Roewer 1951 (Cape, South Africa, ? & / known), rubriceps Lawrence 1952 (Natal and Cape, South Africa, only / known), setula new species (Malawi, ? & / known), straeleni Roewer 1960 (Congo (Zaire), Ruanda, Malawi and Ethiopia, ? & / known), unicolor Purcell 1903 (Cape, South Africa, only ? known) and varia Purcell 1903 (Cape, South Africa, ? & / known)." Alderweireldt, 1999

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith