|Title Page||Introduction||Families||Counts||Bibliography||Generic List||Fossils||Database|
Welcome to the WORLD SPIDER CATALOG! Work on this project began in 1986, when the untimely
death of Paolo Brignoli deprived arachnology of one of its brightest lights. Spider students
everywhere had learned to expect from Paolo a steady stream of fascinating papers, and had come
to depend on his 1983 Catalogue of the Araneae for essential guidance to the massive
modern literature on the subject. For his part, Paolo had been busy making notes for the first
of the Catalogue supplements he had hoped to issue at periodic intervals.
When, in September of that year, I accepted an invitation from the British Arachnological
Society and Manchester University Press to take over the task of preparing the first supplement
to Brignoli's volume, I had to decide in what manner to continue the cataloguing efforts begun
by Bonnet, Roewer, and Brignoli. Bonnet's seven scholarly volumes are fully comprehensive,
covering literature on all aspects of spider biology (through 1939). Roewer's three volumes
cover the taxonomically useful literature (through 1939 or 1954, depending on the family).
Brignoli's volume filled many of the post-Roewer gaps (through 1980, with scattered coverage of
later papers as well). My three subsequent volumes cover the literature from 1981 through
In my own work, Roewer's style of coverage has proved to be the most helpful. In checking on
an obscure taxon, Roewer's volumes (which seem to have been based in large part on compilations
by E. Reimoser) provide quick access to the most important information: a listing of where
taxonomically useful illustrations can be found. The World Spider Catalog is therefore based
largely on Roewer's volumes, with additions from Bonnet, Brignoli, my own three catalog
volumes, and more recent literature.
At least in theory, the listings include:
(1) all descriptions of new species;
(2) all post-Roewer transfers or synonymies of previously described taxa; and
(3) all taxonomically useful (i.e., illustrated) references to previously described taxa.
Not included are:
(5) subfamilial or subgeneric divisions and allocations; or
(6) mentions of taxa in purely faunistic works (unless accompanied by useful illustrations).
The catalog entries for literature prior to 1940 do not reflect a complete re-check of the
classical literature. Roewer's listings based on the classical literature have largely been
accepted, and only discrepancies detected between Roewer's and Bonnet's treatments have been
re-checked and resolved. These listings are not intended to supplant either Roewer's or
Bonnet's volumes, but rather to provide a quick, electronically searchable guide to the most
important literature on spider systematics, worldwide. Investigators doing original research
should still check the listings in Roewer and Bonnet; I hope that omissions are few, but no
project of this magnitude could ever be error-free.
Users who detect errors, of any sort, are urged to bring them to my attention (email to
Citations are annotated in parentheses, in a style similar to Brignoli's, using the
following conventions. Male or female signs (m or f) alone indicate that palpal
or epigynal illustrations are included (hence figure references without such annotations
include only somatic characters, generally through scanning electron micrographs; citations are
not provided for cases where authors supplied only a general view of the body). The letter D
indicates an original description, either of a taxon or of a previously unknown sex. The letter
T indicates that one or both sexes have been transferred from a specified genus to the one
under consideration; tentative statements indicating that a species "possibly belongs" or "may
belong" elsewhere are not included as transfers (or synonymies). The letter S indicates that
details of one or more new synonymies can be found immediately under the generic listing; an S
followed by a male or female sign indicates that a previously unknown sex has been added
through a synonymy. Brignoli's and my uses of these abbreviations are reasonably consistent;
Roewer's usage was far less consistent, and there are therefore many discrepancies in the use
of these conventions in the pre-1940 citations. The type species of each genus is marked with
an asterisk (*). As in all previous spider catalogs, generic and specific names abbreviated
as a single letter followed by a period refer to the currently valid name and spelling (i.e.,
the names in boldface type), not necessarily to an immediately preceding entry.
The organization of the entries is hierarchically determined; hence synonymies at the
generic level are indicated under the family (and cross-referenced under the appropriate
generic) listings, but affected species are listed separately only if there are significant
references to them in particular. Similarly, synonymies at the species level are listed under
generic, rather than familial, headings. Unlike Roewer and Brignoli, I have not attempted to
segregate species within large genera on a geographic basis. Their listings are often
confusing, with widespread species being hard to locate and easy to overlook. Spider
systematics has suffered too much from narrow regionalism to encourage strictly faunistic
approaches in any way! The brief descriptions of geographic ranges are provided only as a
general guide; no attempt has been made to ensure that they are comprehensive.
The higher classification of spiders is an active area showing much ferment and little
consensus. The family and generic limits used here are, in accord with Brignoli's practice,
primarily a reflection of the current literature, rather than any of my own (unpublished)
opinions; they should not be construed as arguments supporting or rejecting competing
Over the years, many colleagues have been kind enough to review sections of this material,
and their help is gratefully acknowledged. Two colleagues, in particular, are owed a tremendous
debt of gratitude by all arachnologists; Peter Merrett and H. Don Cameron have worked through
all these listings, checking primarily for scientific and Latinization inconsistencies,
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant
Nos. BSR-8921692 and DEB-9503286. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations
expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of
the National Science Foundation.
This catalog should be cited as follows:
Platnick, N. I. 2011. The world spider catalog, version 12.0. American Museum of Natural History, online at http://research.amnh.org/iz/spiders/catalog. DOI: 10.5531/db.iz.0001.