South Korea is a country with more than 1000 caves that support a high diversity of invertebrate species. Here we review the pseudoscorpion genus Spelaeochthonius Morikawa, 1954 (family Pseudotyrannochthoniidae) that is exclusive to caves in Japan and South Korea and reinstated here as a valid taxon. Based on recent field collections, three species in this genus are described from South Korea: S. dentifer (Morikawa, 1970), comb. nov., S. cheonsooi sp. nov., and S. seungsookae sp. nov. Based on present-day knowledge about range sizes and morphological variability in this fauna, three Japanese taxa currently classified as subspecies are elevated to species rank: Pseudotyrannochthonius kobayashii akiyoshiensis (Morikawa, 1956) = Spelaeochthonius akiyoshiensis Morikawa, 1956, stat. nov., Pseudotyrannochthonius kobayashii dorogawanesis (Morikawa, 1956) = Spelaeochthonius dorogawaensis Morikawa, 1956, stat. nov.; and Pseudotyrannochthonius undecimclavatus kishidai (Morikawa, 1960) = Spelaeochthonius kishidai (Morikawa, 1960), stat. nov. We emphasize that no epigean Spelaeochthonius have ever been found despite considerable search effort in the forests of Japan and Korea, and that past glacial cycling may have resulted in the total extirpation of surface species in this lineage. We also note that all species are narrow-range endemics that may require conservation management.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2