doc. RNDr. Jiří Král, Dr.
Mgr. Martin Forman
RNDr. Milan Řezáč, Ph.D.
Nela Gloríková
Veronika Řezáčová

The mygalomorph spiders of the family Atypidae are among the most archaic spiders. The genus Atypus Latreille, 1804 occurs in Eurasia and northern Africa, with a single enigmatic species, Atypus snetsingeri Sarno, 1973, known only from a small area in southeastern Pennsylvania in eastern USA. A close relationship to European species could be assumed based on geographic proximity, but A. snetsingeri more closely resembled Asian species. This study was undertaken to learn more about the genetics of A. snetsingeri, its habitat requirements and natural history. Molecular markers (CO1 sequences) were compared to available data for other atypids and showed that A. snetsingeri is identical with A. karschi Dönitz, 1887 native to East Asia. Natural history parameters in Pennsylvania were also similar in every respect to A. karschi in Japan, therefore, we propose that the spider is an introduced species and the specific epithet snetsingeri is relegated to a junior synonym of A. karschi. Cytogenetic analysis showed an X0 sex chromosome system (42 chromosomes in females, 41 in males) and we also detected nucleolus organizing regions and heterochromatin, the latter for the first time in the Atypoidea. In Pennsylvania the spider is found in a variety of habitats, from forests to suburban shrubbery, where the above-ground webs are usually attached vertically to trees, shrubs, or walls, although other webs are oriented horizontally near the ground. Prey include millipedes, snails, woodlice, carabid beetles and earthworms. Atypus karschi is the first known case of an introduced purse-web spider. It is rarely noticed but well-established within its range in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Řezáč M., Tessler S., Heneberg P., Herrera I. M. Á., Gloríková N., Forman M., Řezáčová V. & Král J. (2022): Atypus karschi Dönitz, 1887 (Araneae: Atypidae): An Asian purse-web spider established in Pennsylvania, USA. PLoS ONE 17 (e0261695): 1–21. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261695