PI: Dr. Nelson Ferretti
Adjunct Researcher, CONICET
Teaching Assistant, Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy Department, UNS.

The activities of the arachnological research group are oriented to the understanding of the origin and description of the spider diversity, by searching on the process that shapes the dynamics of its diversity in time and space. To achieve this objective, is imperative to integrate multiple approaches, such as systematics, biogeography, ecology and behavior. Our projects are based on Mygalomorphae spiders as the main study model. These spiders have many biological characteristics that can be considered among the key species not only because of their extinction risk but also by the enormous potential to develop integrated evolutionary studies. For example, they show a great habitat fidelity and sensitivity, have a limited dispersal capabilities and restricted distributional ranges to some particular areas. In this way, our goal is to develop multidisciplinary approaches that allow the use of mygalomorph spiders as study models to unveil the processes underpin in relation to the biodiversity and evolution of terrestrial ecosystems. Particularly, the description of new species, the making of biological inventories as databases and digital images are among principal activities. Also, we infer about the species delineation from molecular and morphological phylogenies and analyze the biogeographical patterns and processes involved. Moreover, we study the ecology of this group of spiders and its relevance from a conservation standpoint. Finally, an approximation of the understanding of their behavior, particularly from the sexual behavior is achieved, highlighting the importance as models from its phylogenetic position.        

Lines of Research

  • Taxonomy, systematics and biogeography of Neotropical Mygalomorphae.
  • Morphological and molecular phylogenetics of Mygalomorphae.
  • Phylogeography and niche modeling of Argentinean Mygalomorphae of the peripampasic arc with emphasis on the mountainous systems of the semiarid region.
  • Historical biogeography and conservation biogeography of Argentinean Mygalomorphae through different approaches: Panbiogeography, PAE, NDM/VNDM, spatial analysis of vicariance.
  • Evolutionary ecology of Mygalomorphae mountainous systems of southern Buenos Aires province.
  • Reproductive behavior of spiders, with emphasis on sexual behavior under different mechanisms of sexual selection.

Recent publications

  • Schwerdt L., De Villalobos A., Pérez-Miles F., Ferretti N. (2020). Thermal preferences and effects of temperature on fitness parameters of an endemic Argentinean tarantula (Grammostola vachoni). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 98:134-141.
  • Gabellone C., Barneche J., Copperi S., Ferretti N., González A. (2020). Interacción entre Ocnaea (Diptera, Acroceridae) y Catumiri argentinense Mello-Leitao (Araneae, Theraphosidae). Primer Ocnaea para Argentina. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, 22(1):7-11.
  • Nicoletta M., Chaparro J., Mamani L., Ochoa J., West R., Ferretti N.E. (2020). Two new endemic species of Bistriopelma (Araneae: Theraphosidae) from Peru, including a new remarkable horned tarantula. European Journal of Taxonomy, 644:1-20.
  • Copperi M., Ferretti N., Peretti AV. (2019). The role of silk in courtship and communication in mygalomorph spiders: do males regulate their courtship in response to female mating status? Behavioural Processes, 167:103939.
  • Ferretti N., Soresi D., González A., Miquel A. (2019). An integrative approach unveils speciation within the threatened spider Calathotarsus simoni Schiapelli & Gerschman, 1975 (Araneae: Mygalomorphae: Migidae). Systematics and Biodiversity, 5:439-457.
  • Ferretti N., Copperi S., Pompozzi G. (2019). Discovery of an isolated population of the dwarf tarantula Homoeomma uruguayense (Araneae, Theraphosidae) in central Argentina. Caldasia, 41:1-13.
  • Ferretti N., Ríos-Tamayo D., Goloboff  P. (2019). Four new species of Goloboffia (Mygalomorphae: Migidae) from Chile. Zootaxa, 4712:251-268.
  • Ferretti N., Patricio C., Chaparro J., Ríos-Tamayo D., Seimon T., West R. (2018). The Neotropical genus Hapalotremus Simon, 1903 (Araneae: Theraphosidae), with the description of seven new species and the highest altitude record for the family. Journal of Natural History, 52: 1927-1984.
  • Panchuk J., Ferretti N. (2018). Surface soil type preference for burrowing of the endangered and endemic trapdoor spider Calathotarsus simoni (Araneae: Migidae). Arachnology, 2018:364-366.
  • Pompozzi G., Schwerdt L., Copperi S., Ferretti N. (2018). Do disturbed environments affect density of the tunnel-web spider Acanthogonatus centralis (Mygalomorphae: Nemesiidae) from native grasslands in Argentina? Turkish Journal of Zoology, 43:146-151.
  • Ferretti N., Miquel A., González A. (2018). Impact of climate change on spider species distribution along the La Plata River basin, southern South America: projecting future range shifts for the genus Stenoterommata (Araneae, Mygalomorphae, Nemesiidae) Annales Zoologici Fennici, 55:123-133.
  • Griotti M., Muñoz-Escobar C., Ferretti N. (2017). Linking Vegetation Structure and Spider Diversity in Riparian and Adjacent Habitats in Two Rivers of Central Argentina: An Analysis at Two Conceptual Levels. Environmental Entomology, 4:794-803.
  • Ferretti N., Pompozzi G., Cardoso P. (2017). Species conservation profile of the rare and endemic trapdoor spider Calathotarsus simoni (Araneae, Migidae) from Central Argentina. Biodiversity Data Journal, 5:e14790.
  • Ferretti N., Nime M., Mattoni C. (2017). On three new Idiops (Mygalomorphae, Idiopidae) from Argentina and redescription of the male of I. hirsutipedis Mello-Leitão, 1941. Journal of Natural History, 17-18:975-994.
  • Ferretti N., Pompozzi G. (2016). Description of the male of Stenoterommata uruguai (Araneae: Mygalomorphae: Nemesiidae) from Northeastern Argentina, with notes on its natural history. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad, 87:527-530.
  • Ferretti N., Ochoa J., Chaparro J. (2016). Una nueva especie de Acanthoscurria (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Theraphosinae) sin órgano estridulador, del sur de Perú. Revista Peruana de Biologia, 23:89-94.
  • Schwerdt L., Copperi S., Pompozzi G., Ferretti N. (2016). Diversity and seasonal composition of the scorpion fauna from a mountanious system on Pampean grasslands in central Argentina. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 3:169-175.
  • Ferretti N., Schwerdt L, Peralta L., Farina J., Pompozzi G. (2016). Nuevos datos de distribución de Grammostola burzaquensis Ibarra-Grasso, 1946 (Araneae, Theraphosidae) en el sistema serrano de Tandilia. Historia Natural, 6:75-82.
  • Ferretti N., Pompozzi G., Copperi S., Wehitt A., Galíndez E., González A., Pérez-Miles F. (2016). A comparative morphological study of the epiandrous apparatus in mygalomorph spiders (Araneae, Mygalomorphae). Micron, 93:9-19.
  • Ferretti N. (2015). On three new Euathlus tarantulas from Argentina and cladistic analysis of the genus. Journal of Arachnology, 2015:313-326.
  • Ferretti N. (2015). A new species of Phrixotrichus (Araneae, Theraphosidae) from southwestern Argentina and new distributional data for P. vulpinus. Iheringia, Serie Zoologia, 105:252-256.
  • Ferretti N., Copperi S., Pompozzi G., Schwerdt L. (2015). First record of Vitalius longisternalis Bertani, 2001 (Araneae, Theraphosidae) in Argentina and notes on its natural history in Misiones province. Check List, 11:1-5.
  • Ferretti N. (2015). Cladistic reanalysis and historical biogeography of the genus Lycinus Thorell, 1894 (Araneae: Mygalomorphae: Nemesiidae) with description of two new species from western Argentina. Zoological Studies, 51:1-15.
  • Cavallo P., Ferretti N. (2015). The first Hapalotremus Simon, 1903 (Araneae: Theraphosidae) from Argentina: description and natural history of Hapalotremus martinorum new species. Journal of Natural History, 49:873-887.
  • Ferretti N., Copperi S., Schwerdt L., Pompozzi G. (2015). First record of Vitalius roseus (Mello-Leitao, 1923) (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Theraphosinae) in Argentina: distribution map, natural history and sexual behavior. Arachnology, 16:241-243.
Book chapters
  • Ferretti, N. (2020). Communication, sex and reproductive biology of tarantulas. In: New World Tarantulas – Taxonomy, Biogeography and Evolutionary Biology of Theraphosidae. Editor: Fernando Pérez-Miles. Springer. In press.
  • Perafán C., Ferretti N., Hendrixson B. Biogeography of New World Tarantulas. In: New World Tarantulas – Taxonomy, Biogeography and Evolutionary Biology of Theraphosidae. Editor: Fernando Pérez-Miles. Springer. In press.
  • Ferretti N., Pompozzi G. (2020). Chapter 16 – Arachnida: Araneae. Pp. 23-37. In: Thorp & Corvich´s Freshwater Invertebrates, Fourth Edition, Volume IV: Keys to Neotropical and Antartic Fauna. Editors: Thorp J.H., Rogers C.D., Damborenea M.C. Elsevier.
  • Costa Schmidt E., Albo M.J., Bollatti F., Cargnelutti F., Calbacho-Rosa L., Copperi S., Ferretti N., Izquierdo M., Peretti A. (2018). Sexual selection in Neotropical Spiders: Examples from selected groups.  Pp. 303–350. In: Sexual selection of spiders. Springer.
  • Pérez-Miles F., Ferretti N. (2015). Theraphosidae. Pp. 119-124. In: Biodiversidad de Artrópodos Argentinos, vol. 3. Editors: Roig-Juñent R., Claps L.C., Morrone J.J. Sociedad Entomológica Argentina.

  • PICT 2018-1751. Diversidad, evolución y biogeografía de arañas migalomorfas de Argentina: una aproximación integradora y su importancia en la conservación. PI: Dr. Nelson Ferretti.
  • 2020-2021. International Society of Arachnology. Discovery and description of a new species of Acanthogonatus (Nemesiidae) from southern Argentina: taxonomy and phylogenetic position. Director: Dr. Nelson Ferretti. Student: Mariana Mancini.
  • 2019-2020. American Arachnological Society. Ecology and conservation of Mecicobothrium thorelli Holmberg, 1882 (Araneae: Mecicobothriidae) in natural grasslands of Argentina. Director: Dr. Nelson Ferretti. Student: Justina Panchuk.
  • 2019-2020. American Arachnological Society. A new exception challenging rules? testing sex role reversal hypotheses in a South American spider. Director: Dr. Nelson Ferretti. Student: Carolina Guerra.
  • 2018-2020. Sue Wijdenes Memorial Grant, Neotropical Grassland Conservancy. Trapped for life: Research and conservation of endemic and threatened trapdoor spider (Calathotarsus simoni) in native mountainous grasslands, Argentina. PI: Dr. Nelson Ferretti.
  • 2020. International Society of Arachnology. Mygalomorph spiders (Araneae) from the biogeographic island of Paraje Tres Cerros (Corrientes, Argentina): Diversity and taxonomy. Director: Dr. Nelson Ferretti. Student: Micaela Nicoletta.
  • 2018-2019. International Society of Arachnology. Far away from home: Discovery of a non-Andean new species of Euathlus Ausserer, 1875 (Araneae: Theraphosidae) inhabiting southern Argentinean coasts. Director: Dr. Nelson Ferretti. Student: Melisa Ayoroa.
National and International Collaborations

  • Dr. Sofía Copperi, Dr. Gabriel Pompozzi and Dr. Mariana Griotti, IADIZA-CONICET, Mendoza.
  • Dr. Duniesky Ríos-Tamayo and Dr. Pablo Goloboff, UEL-CCT, Tucumán.
  • Dr. Alda González, CEPAVE-CCT-CONICET, La Plata.
  • Dr. Alfredo Peretti, IDEA-CONICET, Córdoba.
  • MACN-Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia.
  • MLP-Museo de La Plata.
  • Dr. Fernando Pérez-Miles, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Uruguay.
  • Dr. Miguel Simó, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Uruguay.
  • Dr. Anita Aisenberg, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable, IIBCE, Uruguay.
  • Dr. Miquel Arnedo, Facultat de Ciencias, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.
  • Dr. Jose Paulo Guadanucci, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, Brazil.
  • Rick West, Canada.
  • Dr. Pedro Cardoso, Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, Finland.
  • Dr. Chris Hamilton, Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology & Nematology, University of Idaho, USA.
  • Tracie Seimon, Wildlife Conservation Society, Zoological Health Program, Bronx, USA.
  • Dr. Juan Chaparro, Dr. José Ochoa, MUBI-Museo de Biodiversidad del Perú, Peru.
  • MUSMENT-Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru.
Participation of International Commissions
Member of the “South American Tarantula Red List Group” included in “Terrestrial and Freshwater Invertebrate Red List Authority” of the Species Survival Commission (SSC). Member of the “Spider and Scorpion Specialist Group” worldwide. International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN).
TV shows and documentaries
  • 2018. Documentary entitled “Argentine Mountains of Extreme” produced by “Off the Fence”, UK. Participation in the set of the section: “Tarantulas”.
  • 2017. Documentary entitled “Wild Patagonia” produced by BBC Earth, UK. Participation in the set of the section: “Tarantula Mating: don't lose your head!” Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p8VTZJm7UE
  • 2014. TV shows “Científicos Industria Argentina”, section “Mygalomorph spiders”. TV Channel: Tv Pública. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8wVs0mjo2g

Group Members

Dr Leonela Schwerdt
Posdoctoral fellow, CONICET
Topic: Thermal ecology of the tarantula Grammostola vachoni
Email: Leonela Schwerdt
Dr. Carlos Perafán
Posdoctoral fellow, CONICET
Topic: Comparative and evolutionary study of sexual characters in neotropical tarántulas  of Theraphosinae (Mygalomorphae)

Justina Panchuk
Degree in Biological Scs.
Doctoral fellow, CONICET
Topic: Evolutionary ecology of Mecicobothrium thorelli from the Ventania mountanious system
Justina Panchuck

Micaela Nicoletta
Degree in Biological Scs.
Doctoral fellow, CONICET
Topic: Taxonomy and systematics of Neotropical Theraphosidae – Taxonomy and distribution of trapdoor spiders of the genus Actinopus (Actinopodidae)
Email:  Micaela Nicoletta
Carolina Guerra
Degree in Biological Scs.
Doctoral fellow, CONICET
Topic: Sexual behavior of the sand dune spider Allocosa alticeps (Lycosidae)
Carolina Guerra

Mariana Mancini
Graduate Student, Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy Department, UNS
Topic: Taxonomy and systematics of argentinean Nemesiidae
Mariana Mancini

Maite Allegue
Graduate Student, Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy Department, UNS. Cerzos.
Topic: Conservation biogeography of Argentinean tarantulas