A taxonomic update of Michigan spiders

Richard J. Snider's list of spider species found in Michigan has been updated and is available for download.

In 1991, Richard J. Snider, Department of Zoology, Michigan State University, published a list of the 557 species of spiders found in Michigan. This list was based on Arthur M. Chickering’s early published works on Michigan spiders (1930s–1962), other published and unpublished works from 1901–1987 and specimens housed in the MSU Entomology Department research collection. Snider also provided county distribution records for many of the species listed and stated, “It is hoped that the list will serve as a starting point for future faunistic studies.”

The systematics of that paper followed Kaston’s “Spiders of Connecticut” in 1981, but numerous spider families have had extensive revisions in the past 35 years. The family Clubionidae serves as an example. In the Snider paper, 37 species of clubionids were listed for Michigan. Based on an April 2016 search of the World Spider Catalog (2016), the following changes were noted for Clubionidae: (a) 21 species have been transferred to six different families (57 percent); (b) three species were transferred to different genera; and (c) five species have had minor spelling changes. Another example: in Lycosidae (wolf spiders), 25 percent of the 56 Michigan species have been transferred to other lycosid genera.

The Snider paper still remains the most recent Michigan spider list that includes county distributions, and may likely still serve as the primary reference for those interested in Michigan Araneae. Considering the extensive taxonomic revisions of the past 35 years, it was felt that an updated list would be useful to anyone interested in Michigan spiders.

In creating this revised list, we relied extensively on the 2016 World Spider Catalog.  In July 2000, Norman I. Platnick of the American Museum of Natural History created an online resource known as the World Spider Catalog with the goal of maintaining a current list of all spiders found worldwide, including all relevant taxonomic revisions. That resource is now administered by the Natural History Museum of Bern, Switzerland, and as of June 2016 has 45,938 accepted species listed. The World Spider Catalog is wonderfully searchable and also makes available to World Spider Catalog Association members over 13,000 relevant taxonomic publications.

Anyone who would like a PDF copy of the updated Michigan spider list can download it at Michigan Spider List Updated 2016. This document is in the form of a three-column table: the page number for each species in the 1991 paper (pages 203-244), the taxon as given in that paper, and any revisions based on the World Spider Catalog as of April 2016. Also included at the end of this document are any new Michigan species (with county records) that have been added to the MSU Entomology Department spider collection since 1991.

Did you find this article useful?