Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Spider Checklist for BC: Worth a Visit

Check out our 2020 spider checklist on E-Fauna BC.   This checklist is based on ongoing research by Royal BC Museum specialists for this faunal group.  Authored by spider experts Robb Bennett, David Blades, Gergin Blagoev, Don Buckle, Claudia Copley, Darren Copley, Charles Dondale, and Rick C. West,  the checklist expands the spider species known from BC to 893 from an original count in 1967 of 212 species.  The authors provide  localities data and general global distributions for all species and include mapping to show areas where spiders have been "reasonably well sampled" in BC.  They say:  "Many of the additions to the checklist represent the first Canadian or Nearctic records of those taxa or are undescribed species.  By early 2020, data from nearly 42 000 spider specimens had been entered into the RBCM database. Data from many specimens, however, remain unrecorded and currently (2020) the RBCM collection is estimated to house more than 100 000 specimens."

 The authors provide this summary of the results of their work:

"This 2020 version of the BC spider checklist (the fifth in the series hosted on-line by EFauna BC since 2006) presents the names, general distribution data, and specific BC localities for 893 species. This number includes a few subspecies and more than 30 undescribed species (new to science—see “*” entries in the checklist). The four preceding versions presented, respectively, 700, 729, 780, and 859 taxa (Bennett et al. 2010, 2012, 2014, 2017). On average, since 2006 about 18 species have been added annually to the BC checklist. Many of the records added in recent years are the result of barcoding of BC spider specimens by the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (Blagoev et al. 2016), a collaboration initiated in 2012. In addition to being new taxon records for BC, more than 70 are of species never before recorded in Canada (e.g., Islandiana lasalana (Chamberlin & Ivie), Porrhomma nekolai (L. Koch) or, in some instances, the Nearctic (e.g., Agyneta conigera (O. P.-Cambridge)). This incremental increase in species number shows no sign yet of slowing down and, because many regions and habitats of the province (especially along the coast and in the northern half of the province) still remain to be sampled, we believe the checklist of spiders known to occur in British Columbia will eventually exceed 1000 species. Less than 1500 spider species have been reported from Canada (Bennett et al. 2019) and a little less than 4000 species are recorded in North America (Ubick et al. 2017). With probably ⅔ of the Canadian fauna and ¼ of the North American, it is clear that BC is an important area for Nearctic spider diversity."

Since 2020, more species have been added to the checklist and will appear in the next update.

View the 2020 BC spider checklist here

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