Need help with taxonomic descriptions

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2 years 9 months ago #74012 by Ryno
I've been trying to find solid taxonomic descriptions for tarantulas in general, any species, and I can't find any database online or offline. I've looked at original descriptions linked to the tarantupedia but find them difficult to manage.

Does anyone know of a good resource where descriptions are compiled or should I keep sifting through individual articles for the information?

I started to research the descriptions because I got irritated by people calling species hybrids, hobby form or fake, like some saying B. sabulosum and verdezi are fake and do not exist in the hobby. Then these same people are unable to describe the differences to me and have no sources to show me. Can someone help?

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2 years 9 months ago #74013 by Stanley A. Schultz

Ryno wrote: I've been trying to find solid taxonomic descriptions for tarantulas in general, any species, and I can't find any database online or offline. I've looked at original descriptions linked to the tarantupedia but find them difficult to manage.

Does anyone know of a good resource where descriptions are compiled or should I keep sifting through individual articles for the information? ...


In general, the gold standard for all spider taxonomic matters is Dr. Norman Platnick's World Spider Catalog . All spider species known to man are listed in that website. So is the reference information for all the corresponding taxonomic publications.

Specifically, the Theraphosid tarantulas are listed HERE . All the entries are arranged alphabetically. Find the species you're interested in and look at its entry. It'll look something like this

Aphonopelma helluo (Simon, 1891) | m | Mexico [urn:lsid:nmbe.ch:spidersp:001732]
Eurypelma helluo Simon, 1891g: 323 (Dm).
Delopelma helluo Petrunkevitch, 1939a: 252.
Aphonopelma helluo Smith, 1995: 106, f. 384-392 (Tm from Eurypelma=Avicularia per Roewer).
Aphonopelma helluo Peters, 2005b: 28, f. 75-79 (m).

The colored links (e.g., Petrunkevitch, 1939a) are direct links to the reference that gives you the full description of the place where that paper was published (e.g., www.wsc.nmbe.ch/reference/2539 ).

Once you have that reference info you have several options. You can post a query on one or more forums, asking if anyone has a copy they can photocopy and send to you. (Modern publications are most frequently sent as PDFs by E-mail.) Or, you can go to one or more of your local university libraries to look for the publication. (Note that not all university libraries possess all such publications. Call first before making a lengthy trip.) Or, if the author is still alive, you might look up their contact info and snail-mail or E-mail them for a request for a copy (usually a PDF).

Does this sound like a lot of work and a pain in the fundament? Yup! But, it's what every graduate student has to do. It's part of the learning process.

Ryno wrote: I started to research the descriptions because I got irritated by people calling species hybrids, hobby form or fake, like some saying B. sabulosum and verdezi are fake and do not exist in the hobby. Then these same people are unable to describe the differences to me and have no sources to show me. Can someone help?


Unfortunately, for a lot of reasons I don't have time to go into, the original descriptions may not be very useful to you. But, give it a try and see what you can come up with. Get back to us with your results.

Hope this helps.


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Marguerite Schultz
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2 years 9 months ago #74014 by Ryno
Thanks for the help! I tried the world spider catalog before but must have gotten lost because the link you gave is way better then where I ended up. I have access to these articles via my university and have studied some before but I couldn't find the more recent better described articles which I see are listed in the catalog. Those written in the early 1900's were very basic.

I think an ID guide could become profitable in the hobby. Have a nice day and thanks for your awesome book! Helped me a lot when I just started collecting.

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2 years 8 months ago #74062 by Dimitri Kambas
Hi Ryno have you tried the Tarantupedia? www.tarantupedia.com you can view all species here : www.tarantupedia.com/list

If you click on any species you will find all taxonomic information including paper and pdf where its available.

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