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The type species of Phrurotimpus, Herpyllus alarius Hentz, was based on a female from Alabama; because Hentz's type specimens were destroyed long ago, the identity of this species has been controversial for over a century. Examination of Hentz's original color paintings of his specimen indicates that earlier authors, such as Bishop and Crosby, and Chamberlin and Ivie, were correct in arguing that Emerton erred in assigning the name to a species common in the northeastern United States. Unfortunately, Kaston (who had access only to the published, black- and-white illustrations) subsequently sided with Emerton, and that misidentification has been followed in all more recent literature. Phrurotimpus palustris (Banks) and P. annulatus Chamberlin and Ivie are removed from the synonymy of P. alarius and considered valid. P. palustris refers to the common northeastern species, whereas P. annulatus refers to a sibling species apparently restricted to the southeastern United States; Hentz's P. alarius is a member of a different species group entirely. Four other species are assigned to the palustris group, which is known only from the eastern United States and Canada: P. umbratilis (Bishop and Crosby), P. wallacei (Gertsch, here transferred from Phrurolithus), and two new species: P. sorkini from Georgia and Florida and P. bernikerae from Florida.