Monday, June 27, 2005

Taiwan Spiders: the Skinny

Had to blog this, of course.

Spiders in Taiwan from Sinorama

"In just one spider survey zone on Mt. Chiuchiu in Nantou County, we discovered 200 species," says Chen Shyh-hwang. He states that the number of spider species thus far discovered in Taiwan stands at between eight and nine hundred, but over half of these have not yet been properly identified, so the next major task to be tackled is to compare the specimens of newly discovered spiders, classify and name them, and include them in illustrated field guides.

"For instance, the sheet-web spiders are a big family, but at present there's no-one in Taiwan who knows how to identify them." Chen freely admits that many spiders are small and very similar in appearance, so that their identification takes ample literature, large collections of specimens, and great powers of discernment. Hence spider research in Taiwan is still in its early stages. In Chen's own laboratory alone there are 100 species of spider awaiting classification.

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