South America

Chile (northern and central, Atacama to Concepción) - 2009
South America (Venezuela) - 2009
South America (Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) - 2008
South America (Ecuador, Perú) - 2008
South America (Brazil) - 2007
South America (Argentina, Brazil) - 2006
South America (Argentina, Chile) - 2006
South America (Argentina, Uruguay) - 2005
South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile) - 2005
Martinique and French Guiana - 2004
Argentina (northern Patagonia) - 2004
South America (Argentina, Chile) - 2004


Chile (northern and central, Atacama to Concepción): 30 days (July–August, 2009), jointly funded by the NSF-BSI Solifugae grant, PICT 20071393, and NSF-PBI Oonopidae grant. Andrés Ojanguren (CONICET researcher, MACN), Matías Izquierdo (CONICET PHD student, MACN), Cristian Grismado (MACN researcher), Jaime Pizarro Araya (LEULS researcher) and Fermín Alfaro Kong (LEULS), travelled about 6000 km, from the Atacama desert in the north of the country, to the Valdivian rainforests in the south. The major purpose of the trip was to collect arachnid species with a winter activity period, focusing on scorpions, solpugids and spiders. In some areas of Chile, arthropod communities vary considerably in the different seasons of the year, and the winter arachnid communities of this part of the world are almost unknown. Twelve scorpion species, four solpugid species, and about 100 spider species, were collected, including several new species, and new interesting records of poorly known species of the three orders. This trip is the first visit to these communities, and several collaborative contributions in ecology and systematics are being prepared with the material collected during this trip. We acknowledge the financial support mentioned above, as well as the invaluable help of Ivan Benoit (CONAF), Jose Mondaca (SAG), Mario Elgueta (MHNS), Olivia Vergara (MZUC), Daniel Valdivia (MZUC), Juan Enrique Barriga, and the family of Alfaro Kong.

Venezuela: 6.5 weeks (9 July–24 August, 2009), funded by the Venezuelan Ministry of Science (Prendini airfare), AMNH Kalbfleisch Postdoctoral Fellowship (Ochoa’s expenses), and the NSF BS&I grant. Participants: Lorenzo Prendini and AMNH postdoctoral fellow, José Ochoa, accompanied by local scientists. Four separate trips: Bolivar State (Prendini, Ochoa); Merida Andes (Prendini, Ochoa, Cesar Barrio); Cordillera de la Costa (Prendini, Ochoa, Fernando Rojas-Runjaic, Arnaldo Ferrer); Amazonas State (Ochoa, Rojas-Runjaic, Ferrer). Prendini was invited to give a plenary talk, expenses paid, at the National Entomology Congress in Caracas, Venezuela (19–24 July, 2009), providing an opportunity to visit the collections, meet and travel with local arachnologists and conduct fieldwork in the country, which has a diverse arachnid fauna. Ochoa arrived a week earlier and went to the Bolívar State. He joined Prendini during the conference and they flew to Merida for several days in the Andes, accompanied by Cesar Barrio. On return to Caracas, Prendini and Ochoa took a bus ride to Ciudad Bolívar and spent several days travelling in Bolivar State. Back in Caracas, Prendini and Ochoa joined Fernando Rojas-Runjaic and Arnaldo Ferrer for a short trip to the Cordillera de la Costa before Prendini returned to New York, leaving Ochoa for a final trip to Amazonas state with Rojas-Runjaic and Ferrer. Approximately 950 specimens of 56 scorpion species (Buthidae and Chactidae) were collected, including enigmatic specimens of the chactid genera Vachoniochactas and Auyantepuia.

South America (Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela): Ecuador: 20 days (8–18 November, 14–22 December 2008); Peru: 14 days (20–27 November, 26–31 December, 2008); Venezuela: 36 days (23 September–28 October 2008) funded by the AMNH Kalbfleisch Postdoctoral Fellowship. Four separate trips in northern South America were conducted by AMNH postdoctoral fellow José Ochoa. In Ecuador, he travelled ca. 1700 km, between 300–2000 m, exclusively through montane rainforest on the eastern and western sides of the Andes in the following provinces: Pichincha, Napo, Tunguragua and Morona Santiago. The main goal of the Ecuador trip was to collect the enigmatic Troglotayosicus vachoni, an endemic troglobite scorpion from the Cordillera del Condor in Ecuador, and other scorpions of the genera Teuthraustes (Chactidae) and Hadruroides (Iuridae). In Peru, Ochoa travelled to several offshore desert islands, situated 5–16 km from the mainland in the Pacific Ocean, in the Ica, Lima, Trujillo and Ancach departments, to collect scorpion species of the genus Hadruroides. Ochoa was accompanied by Joyce Vitorino (Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad, Peru) during the trip to the islands. In Venezuela, Ochoa travelled ca. 5500 km, traversing diverse habitats including Llanos, inter-Andean valleys, dry forest, montane rainforest, Amazon rainforest, and savanna, in the following states: Amazonas, Apure, Bolivar, Merida, Trujillo and Zulia. Ochoa was accompanied by Enrique Santos Bazo (Valera, Venezuela) throughout Venezuela. Approximately 1500 scorpion specimens in seven families, 18 genera and 97 species were collected in total. These include the following genera: Bothriuridae: Brachistosternus; Buthidae: Ananteris, Centruroides, Microtityus, Rhopalurus and Tityus; Chactidae: Broteochactas, Brotheas, Chactas, Chactopsis, Hadrurochactas, Taurepania, Teuthraustes and Vachoniochactas; Diplocentridae: Tarsoporosus; Iuridae: Hadruroides; Liochelidae: Opisthacanthus; Troglotayosicidae: Troglotayosicus.

South America (Ecuador, Perú): Perú: 7 weeks (19 December, 2007–19 January, 2008; 25 February–14 March, 2008). Ecuador: 4 weeks (21 January–19 February, 2008), funded by the AMNH Kalbfleisch Postdoctoral Fellowship. Three separate trips, led by Postdoctoral fellow Josè Ochoa were conducted during this expedition. In Perú, the first trip (ca. 10,200 km, 10–4300 m) traversed inter-Andean valleys, coastal desert, sand dunes, dry forests and highlands (Puna) in northern, central and southern Perú (departments of Ayacucho, Apurímac, Puno, Arequipa, Ica, Lima, Ancash, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Piura), as well as montane rainforest in northern Perú (Amazonas and San Martín). The second trip in Perú was conduced in the Amazon basin rainforest (Loreto and Ucayali). Ochoa was accompanied on both trips by collaborators: Roberto Gutiérrez, Dany Apaza Dayvis Huamán and Aarón Quiroz (Universidad Nacional de San Agustín, Arequipa), Joyce Vitorino (Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad, Cusco), Guissepe Gagliardi (Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana, Iquitos) and Cesar Gil Perleche (Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruiz Gallo, Lambayeque). In Ecuador, Ochoa travelled ca. 3,400 km, in rainforest, montane forest, dry forest, and inter-Andean valleys (province of Pichincha, Azuay, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Pichincha, Imbabura, Carchi and Orellana). Ochoa was assisted at some localities around Quito by Fabian Bersosa (Universidad Central del Ecuador, Quito) and received important help from Pablo Araujo, Santiago Villamarín, Adrian Troya, Vladimir Carbajal (Quito) and Judith Borja, Arturo Jimenez and Marco Lara (province of Loja). Approximately 900 scorpion specimens in 10 genera, 5 families and 61 species, were collected in total, including representative species of the genera Brachistosternus (Bothriridae), Tityus (Buthidae), Chactas and Teuthraustes (Chactidae), and Hadruroides (Iuridae). Many spiders, Opiliones and myriapods were collected, as well as several Amblypygi and Solifugae.

South America (Brazil): 3 weeks (January 2007), funded by the NSF AToL Spider Phylogeny grant. Camilo Mattoni (AMNH, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba), Ricardo Pinto-da-Rocha, Sabrina Outeda-Jorge and Humberto Yamaguti (Instituo de Biociencias, Universidade do Saõ Paolo) traveled ca. 5,000 km through 5 states (Saõ Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Bahia and Minas Gerais), collecting at elevations ranging from 50–1900 m in Atlantic rainforest, open savanna (Caatinga), bushy savanna (Cerrado), and karstic caves, including the magnificent cave “Gruta do Janelão” (4.7 km long, up to 200 m high) in Cavernas do Peruaçu National Park. Several tropical storms flooded some regions, destroying bridges and roads, hindering work in some areas. Approximately 170 scorpions, in 17 species, 5 genera and two families, were collected. Three amblypygyds (2 species, including the elusive Trichodamon), one uropygid (Mastigoproctus), and ca. 50 spider species were also collected for the NSF AToL and related projects.

South America (Argentina, Brazil): 3 weeks (1–20 February, 2006), funded by the NSF AToL grant. Camilo Mattoni (AMNH postdoctoral fellow) and David Vrech (undergraduate student, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina) travelled ca. 5,200 km from Córdoba in central Argentina to Misiones Province, Argentina, and the Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul States of Brazil to collect scorpions and spiders in the Paranaense and Mata Atlantica rainforest, and mediterranean mesic forest of southern Brazil. Only 15 scorpions (2 families, 2 genera, 2 species) and more than 200 spiders were collected (most of the scorpions from the mesic forest), because the region was suffering a drought, which is unusual for rainforest, and presumed to be a result of global climate change. One of the scorpion species collected is a new Bothriurus species from southern Brazil.

South America (Argentina, Chile): 2 weeks (5–21 January, 2006), funded by the NSF AToL grant. Camilo Mattoni (AMNH postdoctoral fellow) and Matias Vivanco (undergraduate student, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina) travelled ca. 3,600 km from Córdoba in central Argentina to southern Chile, crossing northern Patagonia, from 0–2,100 m. The expedition surveyed habitats ranging from Patagonian semi desert to Nothofagus cold rainforest. The main goal of the expedition was to collect the elusive scorpion genus Tehuankea, and additional samples of spiders and scorpions for the AToL Spider Phylogeny project. A total of 328 scorpions (1 family, 6 genera, 11 species) were collected, including specimens of Tehuankea and a new Bothriurus species from northern Patagonia.

South America (Argentina, Uruguay): 2 weeks (8–15 December, 2005), funded by the NSF AToL Phylogeny of Spiders project. Camilo Mattoni (AMNH postdoctoral fellow), Andres Ojanguren (Ph.D. student, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, Buenos Aires) and Facundo Labarque (undergraduate student, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales and Universidad de Buenos Aires) travelled ca. 2000 km from the centre of Uruguay to the southern coast, and inland, crossing the country, to El Palmar National Park (Argentina). Arachnids were collected in the pampas (grassland) and forested hills of Uruguay, and in the grasslands and palm forest of El Palmar. About 100 scorpions in 4 species (2 genera, 2 families) and many spiders were collected.

South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile): 6 weeks (northern Argentina, Bolivia and Chile: 3–30 January, 2005; Patagonia: 15 January–16 February, 2005), funded by the Mattoni Postdoctoral Research Fund. Two separate trips were conducted during this expedition. During the first trip, AMNH postdoctoral fellow, Dr Camilo Mattoni, was accompanied by collaborators, Dr Jose Ochoa (Universidad de Cusco, Peru), and Andres Ojanguren Affilastro (Ph.D. student, Museo Ciencies Naturales, Buenos Aires) to Argentina (Jujuy, Salta, Tucuman and San Juan provinces), Bolivia (Cochabambama, Oruro, La Paz, and Potosi departments), Chile (Atacama, Coquimbo, and Tarapaca regions). This trip of ca. 9,800 km traversed highlands (Andean altiplano), deserts, montane Chaco, plain dry Chaco, Prosopis forest, andean rain forest (Yungas) and salt lake habitats, from 10–4670 m. The second trip, undertaken by Marco Magnanelli and Gastón Lopez (graduate students at Universidad del Sur, Bahia Blanca, Argentina) under directives from Mattoni, traveled ca. 4,500 km through the steppes and andean forest of Patagonia, Argentina (Rio Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Neuquen provinces). Collectively, the two trips yielded around 500 specimens, including scorpions for Mattoni’s project on bothriurids as well as spiders and solifuges other ongoing projects. Approximately 40 scorpion species in 10 genera and 3 families, were collected, including four new Orobothriurus from Chilean and Argentinean Andes, four new Brachistosternus from Chilean deserts and Andes and two new Bothriurus from Patagonia.

Martinique and French Guiana : 3.5 weeks (Martinique: 5–9 December, 2004; French Guiana: 9–28 December, 2004), funded by the NSF ATOL grant. Volunteer, Jeremy Huff started the expedition with a survey of the Caribbean island of Martinique, travelling ca. 600 km in four days though secondary growth, broadleaf forest, making collections of amblypygids and diplocentrid scorpions. Huff flew on to French Guiana, where he travelled the entire east coast, from Kourou to Brazil, and visited four mountain ranges, before flying to Saül in the interior, a roundtrip of ca. 1600 km, including at least 200 km hiking on trails through primary and secondary rainforests from elevations of 16–290 m. Huff collected ca. 100 scorpions, 25 amblypygids, 5 uropygids, 40 pseudoscorpions, 20 Opiliones, 200 spiders, and 300 myriapods in French Guiana, including important outgroup taxa for the ATOL project, e.g. Heterophrynus longicornis, Thelyphonellus amazonicus, as well as endemic scorpion taxa.

Argentina (northern Patagonia): 6 days (12–18 July, 2004), funded by the Mattoni Postdoctoral Research Fund. AMNH postdoctoral fellow, Dr Camilo Mattoni, and colleague, Marco Magnanelli, travelled 3,200 km through the Buenos Aires and Rio Negro Provinces of Argentina, and collected 68 spiders and 35 bothriurid scorpions in coastal dunes, desert, and mountains, from 0–600 m altitude.

South America (Argentina, Chile): 3 weeks (30 October–23 November, 2003), funded by the NSF ATOL grant. During this expedition, Lorenzo Prendini travelled ca. 7,000 km, collecting spiders and scorpions from sea level to 5,000 m in the Andes with two specialists on South American bothriurids, Drs Camilo Mattoni and Jose Ochoa (formerly both at the Universidad Nacional Cordoba, Argentina; Ochoa has since returned to his native Peru and Mattoni is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the AMNH). Prendini, Mattoni and Ochoa departed from Cordoba and drove westwards, over the Andes, to central Chile, northwards to the central Atacama, and then southwards to the Nothofagus and Araucaria forests, before returning to Cordoba. This expedition yielded almost 800 specimens of 36 bothriurid species, including a probable new genus, and an endemic Chilean iurid.