Collaborative spider paper!


I was recently sent a link to this paper, which is a description of a new species of spider. That, in itself, is nothing remarkable, but the article includes some remarkable stuff.

1. The time between collection/discovery to published description was a month, compared to the average 21 years (!) for animals in general.

2. The species was discovered during a field course, and all the students participated in locating the spiders, gathering ecological information, and sampling the population, and all of them (as far as I can tell) are co-authors of the description!

Truly impressive!

(A disagreeable part of their paper is in the part of the Etymology section where they write:

Arguably, the convention in zoology of referencing the authors of a taxonomic name (ICZN Article 51) rather than the source publication is anachronistic in contemporary multidisciplinary, collaborative science (Costello 2009).

This makes no sense. In no other aspect of biology do we cite the source publication rather than the author of the publication, and there seems to be no valid reason to single out taxonomy to change this.)


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