Checklist of the Italian spiders
(version April 2016)
by Paolo Pantini and Marco Isaia
in collaboration with Fulvio Gasparo, Harald Hansen and Alessio Trotta
Knowing the biodiversity of a certain area primarily means understanding the quantity and the quality of the taxa inhabiting it. Such kind of information represents the basis for all scientific studies focusing on any species occurring in a specific area. In addition, biodiversity data are essential for nature conservation, fruition and management. Thanks to the publication of the Checklist of the Italian species of Animals (Minelli, Ruffo & La Posta, 1993-1995), Italy is the first country in Europe organizing a national-based faunistic census. Some years later, the CKMap Project (Ruffo & Stoch, 2005) aimed to quantify and consolidate the knowledge of biodiversity in Italy. Despite these important research projects, knowledge on Italian biodiversity still remains far from being complete, in particular when considering Invertebrates (Ruffo & Vigna Taglianti, 2002). Among Invertebrates, spiders are highly diverse predators, capable of colonizing all terrestrial habitats. Moreover, given their sensibility to human-induced environmental changes and their strategic position in the food chain, spiders are particularly important in ecological studies. In this comprehensive work, we aim at providing an updated framework of the knowledge on the Italian spiders.
The new checklist has been developed in the frame of a wider project aiming to realize a comprehensive Catalog of the Italian spiders based on all available published scientific information, including data on biogeography, bibliography and taxonomy of all the spider species occurring in Italy.
Given the lack of a recapitulatory work on the Italian spider fauna, we firstly aim at assembling a complete and updated bibliography. Data on Italian spiders are scattered in hundreds of scientific papers published through time that we progressively collected in the frame of our project. For the works published before 1940 we refer primarily to Bibliographia Araneorum (Bonnet, 1955-1959) and for later works to the "Catalogue of the Araneae described between 1940 and 1981" (Brignoli, 1983) and to "Advances in spider taxonomy" (Platnick, 1989, 1993, 1998). For recent works, the reference is the online database "World Spider Catalog" (World Spider Catalog, 2014). Moreover, we integrated the list with information deriving both from the analysis of the references cited in each paper and from an array of personal communications provided by several estimated colleagues.
Our Bibliography of Italian spiders includes all of the publications devoted to Italian spiders found in scientific literature: taxonomical and faunistic works, recapitulatory catalogs, obituaries, biographies of Italian arachnologists etc. We also included works that are not explicitly referring to the Italian spiders, but reporting about specimen collected in Italy. We did not include in the bibliography the so-called “grey literature” (bachelor and phd thesis, congress posters and presentations and technical reports).
All biospeleological works published before 1985 and included in Bringoli’s “Catalog of the Italian cave dwelling spiders” (Brignoli 1972, 1985) are included in the list. Concerning recent biospeleological papers, we included all papers published by aracnologists. Other speleological papers published in local journals reporting data on spiders are being progressively integrated in the list.
We present the species list in alphabetical order to allow faster and easier use. Nomenclature follows "The World Spider Catalog, Version 15.5" and all the nomenclature acts herein. We excluded nomen nudum and species inquirendae. Further changes will be integrated in future versions of this list.
In addition to general taxonomical information, for each species we report:
- the Italian chorotype according to Vigna et al. (1992, 1999),
- the presence of the species in Continental Italy (It), Sardinia (Sard) and Sicily (Sic). The archipelagoes and the minor islands are not specified. In such cases, we refer to the region of local competence in Continental Italy or to Sardinia or Sicily,
- the indication of restricted distribution ranges. We label with “EI” (endemic Italian) the species whose range is entirely included within the national borders. An “E” (endemic) indicates those species whose range falls in Italy but also in neighboring countries.
In some cases, we include comments with detailed information about:
- type locality and distribution of endemic species,
- species cited in out-of-date works, whose presence in Italy needs to be verified,
- rare species or species marginally recorded in Italy,
- alien species,
- species or group of species of difficult identification in relation to problematic taxonomical issues.
In order to avoid the inclusion of doubtful species (incorrectly reported for Italy in relation to misidentifications or oversights), we omitted several taxa. We report them, together with the reasons for their exclusion, in the separate list of “Omitted taxa”. In particular, we excluded:
- species inquirendae,
- misidentified species according to literature or after our direct check of the specimen,
- species whose occurrence in Italy is not plausible.
The checklist reports about 1633 taxa of specific or sub-specific range, concerning 1620 species, 426 genera and 54 families (see table). We report 26 subspecies, referring to 13 species.
For more information about the distribution of the Italian species, for mistakes or oversights in the list please contact us at the following addresses:
We are warmly thankful to all colleagues who participated in this work, providing references and opinions on the occurrence of many species in Italy. A special thank goes to Arthur Decae, who helped us in resolving many issues about Italian mygalomorphs. We are grateful to Fulvio Gasparo, for stimulating us in thinking our work out and for making his great knowledge of the cave dwelling spiders and the Italian Dysderids available to us. Fulvio also proof readed the list with patience, commented precisely on each of our considerations and choices and suggested so many improvements. Thank you to Harald Hansen, for his courtesy and for providing without hesitations his precious knowledge about Italian spiders. Thanks to Alessio Trotta for the valuable help in providing lost references and for the fruitful information given throughout the years.
A special thank goes to Dr. Monica Leonardi of the Museo di Storia Naturale di Milano, for loans and consultation of the collections of the Museum. Thanks to Dr. Luca Bartolozzi of the Museo di Storia Naturale di Firenze and to Dr. Leonardo Latella of the Museo di Storia Naturale di Verona.
We are warmly thankful to Wolfgang Nentwig and collaborators and to Norman Platnick for making available to us and to all arachnologists their websites “Araneae spiders of Europe” and “The World Spider Catalog”. During our research, we always keep in mind that the public availability of such amazing resources is an exception, which is rarely found in other groups.
Bonnet P., 1945 - Bibliographia araneorum; analyse methodique de toute la litterature araneologique jusqu‘en 1939. Douladore, Tolouse, 1: 832 pp.
Brignoli P.M. 1972 - Catalogo dei ragni cavernicoli italiani. Quaderni di speleologia. Circolo Speleologico Romano, 1: 5-211.
Brignoli, P.M. 1983 - A catalogue of the Araneae described between 1940 and 1981. Manchester University Press, 755 pp.
Brignoli P.M. 1985 - Aggiunte e correzioni al “Catalogo dei ragni cavernicoli italiani”. Memorie del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona, 4: 51-64.
Minelli A., Ruffo S., La Posta S. (eds.) 1993- 1995 - Checklist delle specie della fauna italiana. Edizioni Calderini,Bologna.
Platnick, N. I. 1989 - Advances in Spider Taxonomy 1981-1987: A Supplement to Brignoli's A Catalogue of the Araneae described between 1940 and 1981. Manchester University Press, 673 pp.
Platnick, N. I. 1993 - Advances in spider taxonomy 1988-1991, with synonymies and transfers 1940-1980. The New York Entomological Society, New York, 846 pp.
Platnick, N. I. 1998 - Advances in spider taxonomy 1992-1995 with redescriptions 1940-1980. New York Entomological Society, New York, 976 pp.
Ruffo S., Stoch F. (eds.) 2005 - Checklist e distribuzione della fauna italiana. Memorie del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona, 2a serie, Sezione Scienze della Vita, 16: 307 pp.
Ruffo S., Vigna Taglianti A. 2002 - Generalità sulla fauna italiana. In: Minelli A., Chemini C., Argano R. & Ruffo S. (a cura di), La fauna in Italia, Touring Editore, Milano e Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio, Roma: 24-28.
Vigna Taglianti A., Audisio P.A., Belfiore C., Biondi M., Bologna M.A., Carpaneto G.M., De Biase A., De Felici S., Piattella E., Racheli T., Zapparoli M. & Zoia S., 1992 - Riflessioni di gruppo sui corotipi fondamentali della fauna W-Paleartica ed in particolare italiana. Biogeographia, 16: 159-179.
Vigna Taglianti A., Audisio P.A., Biondi M., Bologna M.A., Carpaneto G.M., De Biase A., Fattorini S., Piattella E., Sindaco R.,Venchi A. & Zapparoli M., 1999 - A proposal for a chorotype classification of the Near East fauna in the framework of the Western Paleartic region. Biogeographia, 20: 31-59.
This work should be cited as follow:
Pantini P., Isaia M. 2016: Checklist of the Italian spiders. Version March 2016. http://www.museoscienzebergamo.it/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=96&Itemid=94