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Challenges confronting spider taxonomy in Asia

Authors: Shuqiang LI, Yejie LIN

COMMENTARY by Shuqiang Li & Yejie Lin in Zoological Systematics (Jan 2024): The inventory of Asian spiders surged to 17,095 species by the end of 2023, accounting for about 34% of the tally of global spider diversity. The 5 Asian countries that documented the most species of spiders (>1,000 spp each) in 2023 are China, Japan, India, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan. A more robust development in spider taxonomy in Asia can however be hindered by the persistent but outmoded notion of taxonomy as a “descriptive science”, with its negative spillover effects on funding and talent recruitment. The well-intentioned Nagoya Protocol can also stifle taxonomic work if implementation of the collection permit requirement becomes too onerous and time-consuming.