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by Joseph K H Koh
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How spiders are named and classified
On the basis of their structure and habits, the 30,000 or so named species of spiders in the Order Araneida in the world are placed in more than 70 families which in turn are subdivided into smaller groups called genera. Each genus comprises one or more species.
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What are spiders?

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Scientific names of
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How to identify spiders?
Thus the 4,000 or so described Jumping Spiders in the world are grouped under the family Salticidae. (Scientific family names of animals always end with the suffix -idae).

thiania bhamoensis The little iridescent green Fighting Spider (right) which many Singapore children are familiar with is a member of Family Salticidae and is given the scientific name Thiania bhamoensis. Thiania is the name of the genus to which the Fighting Spider Thiania bhamoensis belongs.

heteropoda venotoriaA scientific name is often followed by the name of the person who first described the animal, and the year of description. Thus, the Fighting Spider is referred to by scientists as Thiania bhamoensis Thorell 1877, meaning the spider was first described by the Swedish arachnologist T. Thorell in 1877. If the name of the person is given in brackets, it means the spider was first described as a member of a different genus and has since been transferred to the genus now represented in the current scientific name. An example is the Huntsman Spider Heteropoda venotoria (Linne) 1767. Linne first gave the name Aranea venotoria to the spider in 1767 but Thorell decided to transfer the spider to the genus Heteropoda in 1878. Linne's name thus appears within brackets.

Under the binomial system, the name of each plant and animal should have two components (the generic and scientific name) as described before. However, many Singapore spiders depicted on this website are given only a generic name, followed by the letters "sp." (short for "species"). This means the spider belongs to that particular genus, but it cannot be given a specific name. This is sometimes because it is new to science and has not been properly described and named. In other cases, the spiders may have been named, but the original descriptions are so vague that accurate identification becomes impossible.
From "A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders" by Joseph K. H. Koh
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by British Petroleum<
© 2000 Joseph K H Koh