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Dr. Ivan L. F. Magalhaes


I am a scientist interested in biodiversity and in the discovery, formal description and classification of the spiders inhabiting our Earth. We currently know more than 50,000 spider species, and hundreds more are named each year. Finding spiders, mapping theirs distributions, naming them and making them recognizable to other people is an end in itself and allows us to know our biodiversity before it vanishes. In addition, it sets the foundations for a multitude of other studies, including conservation, venom biology, biogeography, evolution and comparative biology.

Currently a CONICET post-doctoral researcher at División Aracnología, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia".

Research Interests

A male Kukulcania hibernalis (Filistatidae) from Buenos Aires.

My main interests are spider systematics, evolution, and biogeography. Recent projects involve revising and describing new species of different spider groups, such as crevice-weavers (Filistatidae), sand spiders (Sicarius) and spiny orb-weavers (Micrathena). I also investigate their phylogenetic relationships by studying their morphology and DNA sequences. More recently, I started to integrate spider fossils into my research, as they add an interesting temporal dimension to the questions I pursue. 


This systematic basis also fosters further studies on spider evolution, such as understanding their biogeographic history in arid environments of the American continent, or forming the basis to investigate the evolution of complex systems such as their respiratory and copulatory organs.

Featured Publications

An orb web of an unidentified araneid orb-weaver from Brazil.

Magalhaes ILF, Ramírez MJ. 2022. Phylogeny and biogeography of the ancient spider family Filistatidae (Araneae) is consistent both with long-distance dispersal and vicariance following continental drift. Cladistics 38: 538–562. DOI: 10.1111/cla.12505

Ramírez MJ, Magalhaes ILF, Derkarabetian S, Ledford J, Griswold CE, Wood HM, Hedin M. 2021. Sequence-capture phylogenomics of true spiders reveals convergent evolution of respiratory systems. Systematic Biology 70, 14–20.

Magalhaes ILF, Azevedo GHF, Michalik P, Ramírez MJ. 2020. The fossil record of spiders revisited: implications for calibrating trees and evidence for a major faunal turnover since the Mesozoic. Biological Reviews 95: 184–217.

Magalhaes ILF, Neves DM, Santos FR, Vidigal THDA, Brescovit AD, Santos AJ. 2019. Phylogeny of Neotropical Sicarius sand spiders suggests frequent transitions from deserts to dry forests despite antique, broad-scale niche conservatism. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 140: 106569.

Magalhaes ILF, Ramírez MJ. 2019. The crevice weaver spider genus Kukulcania (Araneae: Filistatidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 426: 1–151.


Research Talks

In the 2021 Virtual Meeting of the American Arachnological Society, I presented one of the plenary talks and had the opportunity to tell a little about my research on spider fossils, systematics and biogeography. The video is available on YouTube:

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