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
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 email@example.com)!
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 (*).
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 hypotheses.
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, respectively.
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
This catalog should be cited as follows:
Platnick, N. I. 2003. The world spider catalog, version 4.0. American
Museum of Natural History, online at http://research.amnh.org/entomology/spiders/catalog/index.html