[Title Page] [List of Genera] Comparison of Drawings [Regional Keys to Genera] [Descriptions of New Taxa] [Geographical Distribution] [Color Photographs] [Scanning Microphotographs]

Salticidae: Diagnostic Drawings Library

by Jerzy Proszynski, 2000

Advices on modern field\laboratory work on taxonomy of Salticidae

Heretofore field work on Salticidae, as well as on other spiders, consisted on collecting large quantities of specimens, preserved in alcohol, and after some time later (in some cases 100 years) examined under stereomicroscope, identification and making preparation and drawings. After long preservation specimens are usually faded, often entirely devoid of natural colors, and thus very difficult to recognise. One should remember than in some Salticidae (for example in Euphrys, Talavera, etc) changes in color pattern take place within a few hours after preservation in alcohol. Natural colors are long preserved in dry specimens, their bodies, however, get distorted during drying (could be softened after keeping some 24 hours in very humid air, later can be transfered to water and then still later to 72% ethyl alcohol)..
It was a surprize for me to see how useful for taxonomic purposes may be beautiful color pattern characters, preserved on color photograph snapped from alive specimens. Good examples are:
[ Bianor albobimaculatus] [ Euophrys frontalis] [ Euophrys sulfurea] [ Talavera petrensis] [ Saitis barbipes]
Color photographs make redundant long morphological descriptions, taking often a page, or more of print.
Confronting 40 years of my taxonomic experience with methods employed by some modern naturalists, I would strongly suggest the following steps in taxonomic research.
1. Spider, whenever possible, should be photographed first in their natural environment, their retreats and nids are of particular interest.
2. Specimens should be collected alive into empty vial, stopped with cotton wool. The best collecting method is covering specimen with a vial, if moves too fast, then sholud be chased into entomological sweeping bag, or net, and then covered with a vial.
3. Specimen should be released in laboratory in a place prapared for photographing (best would be a Petri dish, with some selected background, camera ready, lights etc.)
4. First moments after spider left vial, when moves uncertainly - are particularly convenient for photography; also encounters with other specimens, especially male and female).
5. Photographs should be taken in front position (showing surrounding of eyes, chelicerae, palps), lateral view and dorsal view. The best method is photographing with digital camera and storing photos on computer hard disk. This ensures permanent storage, easy retrieval and flexibility of usage.
6. When identification of species is uncertain, one palp of male should be amputated from anestetized specimen (ether, chloroform, etc) and preserved or photographed, also female's epigynum can be photographed on light anesthetized specimen.
7. Photographic documentation is sufficient for scientific record purposes. Majority of specimens should be released into their environment after photographs are taken. [Attention: no release of alive specimens brought to other geographic areas!]. Only in exceptional cases a few specimens of both sexes can be permanently preserved (in 75% ethyl aclohol, or other media) for comparative purposes; for molecular study (DNA etc) preservation in 98% (or absolute 100%) ethyl alcohol are suggested. Obligatorily type specimens series of a new taxon should be preserved; holotypes and allotypes stored and available to specialists in a large Zoological Museum.
8. Immature specimens collected in field can be kept alive for several weeks until mature and useful for photography and genital study. Adequate air humidity and moderate temperature should be manintain in vials. Feeding could be done by releasing into vial drosophila flies, or any harmless insects, from time to time. Some 90 species feed additionally on flower nectar or water with sugar.
9. R. R. Jackson developed method of rearing Salticidae for behavioral experiments from young, till mature, mate, egg laying, and growing up next generation from eggs till maturity and mating. He keeps these during many generations.

Jerzy Proszynski