Morphology, Anatomy, Cytogenetic
and Behavior Surveys
Higher Phylogeny, Classification and Biogeography
Aims of the
Global Survey and
Inventory of Solifugae
Collaboration and Training:
Provide resources for collaboration and networking among the world’s solifuge specialists and arachnologists interested in solifuge research in
Train a PhD student from Namibia, the country with the world’s greatest solifuge diversity, who will revise a solifuge family dominant in southern
Assist a specialist with few resources to complete his PhD on the systematics of solifuges in central Asia, another region of high diversity;
Assist two postdoctoral specialists on solifuge anatomy and a Masters
student studying solifuge behavior with their research;
Involve graduate, undergraduate, and high school students, as well as
volunteers, in research in several countries of high solifuge diversity:
Argentina, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, South Africa, Turkey, U.S.A.
Conduct research and inventories of Solifugae in 13 countries in four
regions of greatest diversity (Figure 1): the Afrotropical (Namibia, South
Africa, Kenya), Palearctic (Israel, Turkey, Egypt, three central Asian
republics), Nearctic (Mexico, southwestern U.S.A.) and Neotropical
(Argentina, Chile) regions;
Provide resources for further inventories by arachnologists interested in
Solifugae in these countries;
Inventory and database solifuge collections in these countries and the
major historical collections in Europe.
Morphology, Anatomy, Cytogenetic and Behavior Surveys:
Survey and document the external morphology,internal anatomy, cytogenetics,
and reproductive behavior of the major taxonomic groups (families and
subfamilies) using field-collected material
Data from these studies will be gathered primarily for incorporation into
a higher-level phylogenetic analysis of Solifugae and for use in diagnostic
keys to solifuge families and subfamilies, but will also stimulate further
research in these fields, e.g., by clarifying the function of the male
flagellum and documenting the solifuge karyotype.
Higher Phylogeny, Classification and Biogeography:
Reconstruct the phylogeny of solifuge families and subfamilies, sampling
exemplars from as many genera as possible, using DNA, external morphology,
internal anatomy, cytogenetic and behavioral data.
Revise the suprageneric classification (based on monophyly), develop
workable diagnostic keys to families and subfamilies (based on
synapomorphies), and test biogeographical and evolutionary hypotheses.
Revise the taxonomy of three solifuge families, using freshly-collected
and museum material. Revisions will employ modern concepts and methods,
including automatically generated descriptions, digital imaging of specimens
and morphological characters, quantitative phylogenetic analysis of
morphological and molecular data, mapping and spatial analysis of
distributions with GIS, and interactive diagnostic keys to the genera;
Phylogenies produced during these revisions will be used to test adaptational and biogeographical hypotheses within the families, e.g.,
trends in ecomorphology or life history and Gondwana distribution patterns;
Develop molecular markers (‘barcodes’) to assist with identifying females
Specimen Documentation, Storage and Archiving:
Gather geographical coordinates and elevation of collection localities
with portable Garmin® GPS devices, along with other data (locality,
collector, date, habitat, collection method), habitat and habitus photos;
Deposit type material in institutions in the country of origin and
synoptic collections of nontype material in US and foreign collections;
Deposit tissue samples (for storage in liquid nitrogen at -150°C) in the
Ambrose Monell Collection for Molecular
and Microbial Research (http://research.amnh.org/amcc/database/).
Databasing, Georeferencing and Mapping:
Database and georeference an estimated 18,000 specimen-lots (Fig. 2) from
the world’s museums (newly collected material will be databased and
georeferenced upon acquisition, and previously databased museum material.
Capture collection data in a customized, Darwin Core-compliant specimen
database developed at the AMNH for an NSF-funded PBI: Miridae project,
maintained on the AMNH server (http://research.amnh.org/pbi/catalog/).
Provide online interactive mapping of distributions via the specimen
database, using tools developed by the team at Discover Life (http://www.discoverlife.org).
Imaging of Type Specimens:
Image type specimens and capture collection data, using the online
database and a portable Nikon microscope and associated digital camera;
Photograph habitus (dorsal and ventral), flagellum, genital operculum,
ctenidia, and other characters for producing and documenting the
morphological data matrix for phylogenetic analysis.