Zamora granulata Roewer, 1928, male (MNRJ 2410) from Ecuador. Photo copyright © A.B. Kury.
Roewer (1928) described the genus Zamora and its type species Zamora granulata based on a single female 30 (mistakenly reported as “male”) from Valle del Zamora, Ecuador, and classified the genus among the Phalangodidae Tricommatinae. It took almost 70 years for someone to tackle the taxonomy of this genus when Kury (1994), very cursorily, and without examination of material, transferred the monotypic genera Zamora Roewer, 1928, to Cranaidae Prostygninae. A little later, Kury (1997) performed the first cladistic analysis of the Agoristenidae, described a second species of Zamora from the slope of Mount Cotopaxi, Ecuador, and in the process created the subfamily Zamorinae, which remarkably combined a generalized gonyleptoid habitus (which Kury related to prostygnines) with typical agoristenid genitalia. Kury’s Zamorinae included three species, Zamora granulata, Zamora vulcana Kury, 1997 and Ramonus conifrons Roewer, 1956. The unity of Zamorinae was then supported by external features, notably the very elevated and coarsely granulated ocularium. Pinto-da-Rocha & Hara (2009) revisited agoristenid phylogeny, expanded Kury’s character matrix and examined crucial type material of some of Roewer’s species. Their results included augmenting the Zamorinae by the inclusion of Globibunus and Rivetinus and moving Ramonus back to the Prostygninae. In their analysis, Zamora granulata was also kept along with the other zamorines, but the female holotype could not provide much useful information. Finally, in 2011, Kury and collaborators organized an expedition to Ecuador where they were able to secure males and females of Zamora granulata, allowing to access important characters of male genitalia for the first time.
With base on this and another recent collected harvestmen, Kury (2012) transfered Zamorinae to Cranaidae, defining a new diagnosis to the subfamily, including genital characters. In the present, this is a monotypyc subfamily of small Andean harvestmens. The placement of Zamora granulata in Cranaidae by Kury (2012) is supported by a putative synapomorphy of the family (at least for Heterocranainae, Cranainae and Stygnicranainae): ventral plate inclined dorsally, forming an acute angle with the truncus (Orrico & Kury 2009). In the groundplan of Gonyleptoidea, the ventral plate and the truncus are in parallel planes, state present in basal Gonyleptidae, Stygnidae, Cosmetidae and also in Prostygninae. External morphology is very similar in Prostygninae, Zamorinae and Globibuninae.
Why to keep Zamorinae as a monotypic subfamily?Edit
The diversity of Cranaidae is surely underestimated, as a great number of undescribed species from Colombia and Ecuador has been detected in collections (pers. obs.). Descriptions of new species are becoming common in the last decades while illustrations of male genitalia are being more and more provided for old species (e.g., González-Sponga 2003; Kury 1994; Kury 1995; Kury 2012; Pinto-da-Rocha & Bonaldo 2011; Pinto-da-Rocha & Kury 2003; Pinto-da-Rocha & Kury 2007). This increase in the corpus of described genital structures is leading to frequent reassessments of the relationships in the family. The five recognized subfamilies of Cranaidae each represent different morphological plans of penis construction, and their composition is shifting and likely to increase in the next decades. An alternative to keeping the name Zamorinae would be to simply leave Zamora without any subfamilial assignment. Another option would be to assign Zamora to any of the four existing subfamilies, in spite of the striking differences described above. In the same way as old species were recently proven to belong in Globibuninae, Zamorinae should grow in described diversity as study on Cranaidae progresses.
- ↑ Kury, A.B. (2012c) First report of the male of Zamora granulata Roewer 1928, with implications on the higher taxonomy of the Zamorinae (Opiliones, Laniatores, Cranaidae) Zootaxa, 3546: 29–42.