Frequently asked questions

1. Species epithets ending in i/ii

In his monumental work “Bibliographia araneorum” (1945-1961), Bonnet analyzed this case carefully and replaced all “-ii” endings of species epithets dedicated to persons by “-i” (except in original names of persons ending with “i”, e.g. Pavesi, Kulczyński, Canestrini etc.). He also gave an exhaustive grammatical / linguistic explanation (Bonnet 1945: 114ff). The vast majority of arachnologists took over his nomenclature that can now be considered as “common usage”. In 2014/15, when the World Spider Catalog was started in his current web-based format, a discussion came up again whether these endings should be altered to the original spelling, according to ICZN article 33.4. This led to intensive discussions with colleagues from all over the world, unequivocally showing to us that practically nobody wants to alter the names commonly used since Bonnet. Therefore, also for the sake of nomenclatural stability, we decided to leave the names as they are used since 1959 at latest (when vol. 2 of “Bibliographia araneorum” was finalized) by the vast majority of authorities in arachnology. The only exception is Heliophanus kochii because this is covered by a decision of ICZN (Link).

2. Why does WSC not include new faunistic records?

The World Spider Catalog gives a very brief description of the geographic range of a species. This shall provide a general guide and no attempt has been made to ensure that these records are comprehensive. Therefore, new faunistic records will usually not be included. Also, the WSC is not a catalogue or checklist for each country. The taxonomic references are listed, but one cannot find country-wise references in the WSC.

3. Early view status of a publication, DOI links and upcoming papers

For the most recent publications, DOI links are added to the references. In older papers (before 2014) the DOI links are added only cursorial [you may send such additions to]. In the list of the upcoming papers ( articles, which are not published with their final pagination ('early view'), are only listed, when DOI links are active and they are peer-reviewed already. Only papers which have their final pagination will be included into the WSC and are available as PDF for WSCA members.

4. Why are subfamilies, tribes, subgenera etc. not considered in the WSC?

Admittedly, there are several reasons why the inclusion of subgenera, tribes and subfamilies into the World Spider Catalog would be desirable. However, the World Spider Catalog team only has limited financial resources and these are more or less sufficient to cover the present running costs. Including and adapting names of the family- and genus-group other than genus and family names is beyond our current capability. In addition, the World Spider Catalog is a tool for taxonomy, not for phylogenetics of spiders, and in the Introduction chapter of the World Spider Catalog, it is clearly stated that the usage of the World Spider Catalog does not unburden researchers from consulting the classical literature, including the volumes of Bonnet and Roewer, that can be easily accessed through the World Spider Catalog. Finally, we feel that creating too many new superspecific names in the age of highly dynamic phylogenies brings more confusion than stability into spider taxonomy. In the present situation it is more desirable to use terms with no nomenclatural relevance, like species groups instead of new subgenera (e.g. “Pardosa lugubris species group”) and vernacular names for clades (e.g. “spiny leg clade”), and we highly recommend such a usage.

5. Why no colon to distinguish primary and secondary citations?

Article 51.2.1 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature recommends that “The name of a subsequent user, if cited, is to be separated from the name of the taxon in some distinctive and explicit manner”. While the citation of the article where the taxon has first been described (primary citation) has to be added without colon or other characters, all other citations (secondary citations) should be separated by a colon or comparable characters. The World Spider Catalog does not follow this article because (1) it is only a recommendation and it may be discussed how meaningful this is; (2) the Code applies only to taxonomic publications, whereas the World Spider Catalog is an internet-based database; (3) neither Roewer, Brignoli nor Platnick followed this recommendation; (4) adding a colon for secondary citations would require too much handwork because this process cannot easily be automatized; (5) however, we believe that the user can easily distinguish between primary and secondary citation.