Welcome to the first version of 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 1995.
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. This first version of 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 firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Citations are annotated in parentheses, in a style similar to Brignoli's, using the following conventions. Male or female signs 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 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. Special thanks are due to the National Science Foundation; without the support provided by Grants BSR-8921692 and DEB-9503286, this project could never have been brought to fruition. Timely completion would also have been impossible without Mr. Louis Sorkin's expertise and determination in tracking down obscure (and often erroneous) literature citations.
My first catalog volume has been out of print for some time, and its contents have therefore been available on this site. Over the ensuring months, the family listings from that volume will be replaced by the full, Clerck-to-date files. Hopefully, the full text will be completed and made available at this site by the time of the next International Congress of Arachnology, to be held in South Africa in 2001. At that Congress, a CD-ROM version, including the information in various text and database formats will be made available, at nominal cost.