Jumping spiders (Arachnida: Araneae: Salticidae) of the world

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The Fauna Portal web identification platform: a concept for the rapid documentation of undescribed species

1Framenau V.W., 2Metzner H., 1Castanheira P. de S.
1Harry Butler institute, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia 2psbrands GmbH, Fürth, Germany

The majority of the world’s invertebrate fauna remains undescribed and it is increasingly likely, that many species will remain undocumented before they go extinct. For example, approximately 70–80% of Australia's invertebrate fauna, is undescribed. Some 4.000 Australian spider species are currently named and species estimates have place the true diversity of this order in Australia between 8.500 and 20.000 species. Over the last five years (2017–2021), an average of 56 species were named each year. Assuming a similar speed of discovery, it would take 90–276 years (depending on the species estimate) to describe the remaining Australian araneofauna (questionable with little recruitment in the taxonomic workforce in Australia). Meanwhile, it is virtually impossible to use spiders in environmental studies or assess their distribution patterns, particularly of rare species of conservation significance.

The Fauna Portal Australia (www.faunaportal.org) aims to provide a stopgap for the documentation and identification of Australia's undocumented invertebrate fauna and is easily transferable to other geographic regions. It is based on a taxonomically stable nomenclatural system derived from proven zoological principals (reference specimen in public institutions and diagnosis) supported by an underlying database that provides genus- and species-level nomenclatural codes. Diagnostic images for each species allow for an identification of each species and these images are accessible via filters for projects, morphology, sex and/or developmental stage and distribution (either by state or a region selected via map). Documentation of a new species is fast due to the simple backend design of the website. User-restricted sections allow developing projects hidden to the public, for example research data can remain concealed until the they are published. We believe, the Fauna Portal has the potential to speed up species discovery, documentation and identification in Australia and elsewhere and support environmental and taxonomic research.