Wikipedia:WikiProject Spiders/Style guide

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The hints presented on this page are merely suggestions on how to best create a new page for the spider project. Read them, but write the pages the way you like. If you disagree with suggestions proposed here, please discuss this at the talk page.

Page title[edit]

See Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life#Article_titles for suggestions on naming pages dealing with a species, genus, subfamily or similar.

Common name capitalization[edit]

Use sentence case for spider common names (rather than title case). For example, "black widow", rather than "Black Widow".


Every page of a species, genus, subfamily, or other clearly defined taxonomical grouping should have a Taxobox. Here are two templates for the most common hierarchy layers:

When choosing a picture to use for a species-level taxobox, choose the picture that would be most useful for identifying the species. Males and females are often significantly different; if so, try to find an image of each.

Taxon authors[edit]

Spider names fall under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Don't add or remove parentheses in author citations for species as they have a precise meaning: "Thorell, 1877" means that the species is in the same genus that Thorell used in 1877; "(Thorell, 1877)" means that someone else has later moved the species to another genus. (Author citation (zoology) explains in detail how zoological authors are cited.) A reference should always be given for the author citation (normally in the taxobox). The original description does not constitute a reliable source on its own. A reliable secondary source is needed that says this is the accepted authority; since, for example, after the original description it may have been discovered that the name was not acceptable under the ICZN Code because the species name was already in use in the genus, or the species may have been transferred to another genus, when parentheses need to be added to the author citation. The main secondary reference for the authors of family, genus and species names is the World Spider Checklist.

You can use the List of Arachnologists to easily wikify the author of taxa. If you don't find the author in this list, try to find them in one of these:

If you do find an author elsewhere, please enter it into the above list. There are also sometimes wiki pages about people that do not appear in any of these three lists.

To wikify the authors has several benefits:

  • it helps to find out who this person was
  • it provides (even if it's a redlink) an easy way to find all taxa authored by this person (via What links here).


It's useful to list the synonyms in the taxobox. A reference should also be provided. The {{Specieslist}} template provides an easy way to format a list of species names, for example:

| synonyms =
  |Aphonopelma brunnius|Chamberlin, 1940
  |Aphonopelma chamberlini|Smith, 1995
  |Aphonopelma iviei|Smith, 1995
  |Aphonopelma lithodomum|Chamberlin, 1940
  |Aphonopelma smithi|Smith, 1995
  |Aphonopelma zionis|Chamberlin, 1940
| synonyms_ref=<ref name=.../>

The synonyms will then be listed as below, with automatic italicization for the species name and small text for the authority:

  • Aphonopelma brunnius Chamberlin, 1940
  • Aphonopelma chamberlini Smith, 1995
  • Aphonopelma iviei Smith, 1995
  • Aphonopelma lithodomum Chamberlin, 1940
  • Aphonopelma smithi Smith, 1995
  • Aphonopelma zionis Chamberlin, 1940

The World Spider Catalog can be used as a source of synonyms, but interpretation is needed because it gives a list of taxonomic references, not synonyms. As an example, consider its entry for Araneus arizonensis:

Epeira arizonensis Banks, 1900a: 100 (Dmf).
Epeira arizonensis Banks, 1901a: 585, pl. 22, f. 5 (m).
Araneus arizonensis Petrunkevitch, 1911: 280.
Neosconella arizonensis Archer, 1951a: 38 (Tmf from Araneus).
Conaranea gertschi Archer, 1951b: 7, f. 17, 30 (f only, misidentified).
Araneus arizonensis Levi, 1973: 497, f. 60-71 (mf).
Araneus arizonensis Levi, 1991a: 290, f. 507-510 (mf).

There are only two synonyms here to go in the taxobox:

  • Epeira arizonensis Banks, 1900 – the species name arizonensis will always be attributed to the first describer, i.e. "Banks, 1900"
  • Araneus arizonensis (Banks, 1900) – Petrunkevitch in 1911 transferred the species to Araneus, so here "Banks, 1900" is placed in parentheses; Petrunkevitch isn't mentioned (he would be in botanical names, but isn't in zoological ones); however this is the currently accepted name, so isn't listed under "Synonyms" in the taxobox
  • Neosconella arizonensis (Banks, 1900) – another transfer, but not the currently accepted genus placement
  • Conaranea gertschi is not a junior synonym, but a misidentification.

Repetitions of the same binomen are never synonyms.

Distribution maps[edit]

It's easiest to work with a layered template for entering range information into a world map. At the moment, pure green (#00FF00, (0,255,0)) is used, (example). I use such a template for the gimp, call me if you can use it. --Sarefo 15:11, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Distribution maps.


Spider taxonomy is a dynamic field, with dozens to hundreds of new species and genera being described each year. Furthermore, taxonomic revisions may split existing genera, or reassign species into new genera. Thus, it is a good idea to be general rather than specific: e.g. stating "contains around 80 genera and 600 species" rather than "contains 79 genera and 587 species" ensures that the statement will still be correct, and articles will not have to be updated with every taxonomic change.


Suggestion on how to insert references:

The year is in parentheses behind the author's name, species, genera and journal name are in italics.

Tools make citations fairly easy, in a standard output format, and provide a checklist of items needed for each of type of citation (journals, books, news, web pages)

If a URL dies, Internet Archive's Way Back Machine often contains archived copies of web pages that have gone offline - including some older spider journal articles! It's easiest to supply the original URL, but the Archive also has a Search box into which you can paste the title. When citing archived copies: parameter accessdate= is still required, and you must also add parameter archiveurl=... for the link provided by Internet Archive (as well as the normal "url=..."), and add parameter archivedate=... giving the date when the archived copy was made (the Way Back Machine shows a calender, and click the archivedate to see the archived content)

Add categories[edit]

When creating a species page, check the category for the (scientific) family name first; if it's not crowded, just place the page into the family category (example: Mopsus mormon). If you don't know the family, or don't know the scientific name, just put it in category Spiders; somebody else will categorize it then.

Mark stubs[edit]

If you think an article is not yet useful for most people due to it lacking information, consider adding one of the following templates to the end of the article:

This way it's easiest for other editors to find articles that need be taken care of.

Mark talk page[edit]

At the beginning of a talk page enter this template:

{{WikiProject Spiders|class=CLASS|importance=IMPORTANCE}} or {{WPSpiders|CLASS|IMPORTANCE}}

where the words in capital letters are replaced by appropriate values. This directs readers to this project and also assesses the article (by quality or type and by importance) – see Article Classification. This is actually quite important; this way we can stay on top of more than a thousand articles related to spiders.