Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Salticus scenicus (Clerck, 1757)

To date, I haven't posted anything about spiders. This blog is at its heart about araneids afterall, so I may as well get started on an interesting tidbit.

Here's a shot of a male Salticus scenicus (Clerck, 1757). I found this guy in my kitchen, busy terrorizing my 75 pound black, Labrador Retriever. I rushed to get the camera, took several shots, and tried my best to maintain a steady hand. While on knees and elbows, a large, wet tongue repeatedly sought appeasement in my left ear. Later, I submitted the image, locality, and a few comments to Spider WebWatch because it's one of the nine species featured in that citizen science initiative. With prodding from a few folks, I designed the backend and layout for Spider WebWatch. It's a bit like a forum or a blog where participants can quickly click a spot on a Google Map, pick a date, type a free-form observation, and upload an image. Other participants can submit comments on individual observations and everything I could think of has an RSS 2.0 feed with GeoRSS and MediaRSS extensions. In other words, if you're so inclined, you can grab these feeds and images and maintain textual accreditation for these contributions. I also have a dynamically created Google Earth download; the locales and observations are fed from the server to your machine when called such that you don't have to download a large Google Earth's a bit like the Google Earth Santa tracker in that regard.

Anyhow, on to more interesting matters...

Astute adherents to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature will notice the date Salticus scenicus was described: 1757. Directly from the ICZN is the following:

Article 3. Starting point. The date 1 January 1758 is arbitrarily fixed in this Code as the date of the starting point of zoological nomenclature.

3.1.Works and names published in 1758. Two works are deemed to have been published on 1 January 1758:
- Linnaeus's Systema Naturae, 10th Edition;
- Clerck's Aranei Svecici.
Names in the latter have precedence over names in the former, but names in any other work published in 1758 are deemed to have been published after the 10th Edition of Systema Naturae.

3.2. Names, acts and information published before 1758. No name or nomenclatural act
published before 1 January 1758 enters zoological nomenclature, but information(such as descriptions or illustrations) published before that date may be used. (See Article 8.7.1 for the status of names, acts and information in works published after 1757 which have been suppressed for nomenclatural purposes by
the Commission).

There apparently has been plenty of bickering about Clerck's 1757 Aranei Svecici, which of course was published before Linnaeus' Systema Naturae. The full reference is:

Clerck, C. 1757. Svenska spindlar, uti sina hufvud-slågter indelte samt under några och sextio särskildte arter beskrefne och med illuminerade figurer uplyste. Stockholmiae, 154 pp.

According to Article 3.1 of the ICZN, the authorship for Salticus scenicus ought to be 1758 yet arachnid systematists (not naming names) have fought tooth and nail to preserve full recognition/respect for Clerck's work. Clerck orginally described this species as Araneus scenicus; the Genus Araneus was a veritable trash bin for a lot of spiders. Linnaeus redescribed the species as Aranea scenica in 1758, also a trash bin. So who's the authority? In case you're interested, the spiders in Linnaeus' tome are:

Linnaeus, C. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae, 821 pp. (Araneae, pp. 619-624).

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