This paper summarizes current knowledge about West African pholcids. West Africa is here defined as the area south of 17°N and west of 5°E, including mainly the Upper Guinean subregion of the Guineo-Congolian center of endemism. This includes all of Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin. An annotated list of the 14 genera and 38 species recorded from this area is given, together with distribution maps and an identification key to genera. Five species are newly described: Anansus atewa sp. nov., Artema bunkpurugu sp. nov., Leptopholcus kintampo sp. nov., Spermophora akwamu sp. nov., and S. ziama sp. nov. The female of Quamtana kitahurira is newly described. Additional new records are given for 16 previously described species, including 33 new country records. Distribution patterns of West African pholcids are discussed, as well as possible explanations for relatively low West African pholcid species diversity as compared to Central and East Africa.
Pholcidae, West Africa, taxonomy, identification key, diversity.