Conflicting character evidence and a scarcity of male specimens has historically made placement of the spider subfamily Penestominae Simon problematic. The Penestominae was recently removed from the family Eresidae and promoted to family rank based on the results of a molecular phylogenetic study; a complementary taxonomic revision of the Penestomidae is presented here. Penestomidae contains a single genus, Penestomus Simon, 1902. The genus Wajane Lehtinen, 1967 was previously included in the Penestominae, and distinguished from Penestomus based on the lack of a cribellum. Wajane is, in fact, cribellate, and is here synonymized with Penestomus New synonymy. Nine Penestomus species are recognized: four species are redescribed (P. planus Simon, 1902, P. croeseri Dippenaar-Schoeman, 1989, P. stilleri (Dippenaar-Schoeman, 1989), new combination, and P. armatus (Lehtinen, 1967)) new combination, and five species are newly described (P. egazini sp. nov., P. kruger sp. nov., P. montanus sp. nov., P. prendinii sp. n v., and P. zulu sp. nov.). Male specimens are rare in collections; only P. egazini, P. montanus, and P. armatus are known from 2 males, and only P. armatus is unknown from females. A dichotomous key to the species is provided. Data elements in this work have been disseminated across multiple electronic venues, including images on Morphbank, distribution data exposed through GBIF and explorable using Google Earth, new nomenclatural acts registered with ZooBank, and species pages on the Encyclopedia of Life. Where available, species descriptions include links to molecular sequence data on GenBank.

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Staff publications

Miller, J., Griswold, C. E., & Haddad, C. R. (2010). Taxonomic revision of the spider family Penestomidae (Araneae, Entelegynae). Zootaxa, 2534, 1–36.