The Checklist of the Spiders of Iran (Arachnida: Araneae) --- Version 2020

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Oxyopes badhyzicus Mikhailov & Fet, 1986. Photo: A. Mohajeran.

Spiders (Araneae) are one of the most specious orders of animals, with more than 48320 described, extant species in 120 families (World Spider Catalog, 2019). The first recorded observation of Iranian spiders probably dates back to Olearius (1656), where he reported the observations of “tarantulas” (=large sized wolf spiders) in the environs of Kashan, Isfahan Province. Later, another such observation was reported by Schöngast (1668) from Kerman Province, and also Kitto (1838) noted the common occurrence of “tarantulas” all over the country (most probably, the latter was referring to solifuges). Still, the first scientific collection of Iranian spiders was probably that carried out by Eugen von Keyserling and Theophil Bienert in 1859. Their material is housed in the Zoological Institute, St. Petersburg. The first taxonomic work on the spider fauna of Iran was published by Simon (1874a). In this publication, he described Sparassus doriae (Sparassidae) from Tehran, based on the material collected in 1862–63 by Italian naturalist Giacomo Doria (1840–1913). The other main publication in this period was published by Thorell (1881), dealing with a new species of the genus Artema (Pholcidae). After the beginning of the 20th century, some scattered records were published by Pocock (1903), Werner (1936) and Pavlovsky (1942). Also, some expeditions were made in this period by American, Russian and European zoologists (e.g. Fillipovich in 1904, Kirichenko in 1914). One of the main contributions to the spider fauna of Iran was made by German arachnologist Carl Friedrich Roewer (1881–1963), who published two papers on the arachnofauna of Iran, dealing with several new species and new records (Roewer, 1955, 1959). However, some of the species described by Roewer have never been studied and revised since their first description. The other main collection from the country was conducted in 1973–1975 by the Swiss arachnologist Antoine Senglet. His material is housed in Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève.

The first paper published on spiders of Iran by an Iranian researcher is probably that of Zini (1958), which mainly dealt with the distribution and biology of the Mediterranean widow spider, Latrodectus tredecimguttatus (Rossi, 1790) in this country. Rather recently, more Iranian students and researchers have continued to study the spider fauna of Iran, sometimes in cooperation with international scientists, some important studies dealing with the local family-level revisions have been recently published, and an ongoing large-scale faunistic series entitled “New Data on the Spider Fauna of Iran” is still in progress, of which six parts have been published so far (Zamani et al., 2014b, 2015, 2016, 2017b, 2018a, 2019b).

Political map of Iran

The political boundaries of Iran include the largest part of the Iranian Plateau which is located in the transition zone of three main zoogeographic regions: western Palaearctic, Afrotropical and Oriental regions. This region completely encloses a short section of the orogenic belts between the Arabian- African unit and the Asian block. Geological history and paleogeographical location of the Iranian Plateau and its topographic and climatic conditions present a wide collection of varied habitats which house a very rich biota.

The Iranian Plateau is a geological formation in Western and Central Asia. It is a part of the Eurasian Plate, wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, placed between the Zagros Mountains in the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dagh Mountains in the north and northeast, the Hormuz Strait and Persian Gulf in the south and the Indus River of Pakistan in the east. It includes the greater part of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, covering about 3,700,000 km2. The Iranian Plateau extends about 2,500 km from west to east and about 1,500 km from north to south. The northern parts of the Iranian Plateau lie within the southern parts of the former USSR (Turkmeno-Khorasan Mountains), while its western regions are in Iraq. In spite of being called a "plateau", it is far from being flat and contains several mountain ranges, the highest peak being Damavand in the Alborz Mountains at 5610 m a.s.l., and the lowest region being the Lut basin in the east of Kerman Province in eastern Iran, falling 300 m below sea levels.

The climate of the Iranian Plateau is dry and continental to subtropical, with hot summers and relatively cold winters in the north, and tropical with hot summers and warm winters in the south. There are seven desert plains and depressions in the Iranian Plateau: Dasht-e Kavir in Central Iran; Dasht-e Lut, Sistan and Jazmurian depressions in the southeast; Khuzestan Plain in the southwest; Moghan steppe in the northwest and the Turkman-Sahra steppe in the northeast.


Content of this website follows the latest physically published version of the checklist of Iranian spiders by Mirshamsi et al. (2015a), and is aimed to be updated annually. Contents of each version are according to those publications published by the end of the year before.

Geographical distribution and taxonomic status of the species are mostly given according to the World Spider Catalog (2019) and current catalogs of European and Caucasian spiders and spiders of the Former Soviet Union. Papers of Ghavami published before 2006, and data regarding papers presented in conferences (before 2006) are referenced to Ghavami (2006). Records of families and genera without determination of the species (e.g. Amaurobiidae, Cicurina, Cercidia) are not referenced in this catalog.

The reference format for each species is as follows:

Genus species:  Author(s), year of publication:  the page which the species is discussed, figures of the species (sexes with figures).

The lack of colon after the genus and species name refers to the original description of the species. Species published without illustrations of the copulatory organs are referenced as “distribution record”. Species marked with asterisk are endemic to Iran, and species marked with caret are sub-endemic (occurring in Iran and neighboring countries). Note that the provincial borders have not been stable, and the number of provinces has increased by time. Therefore, old records could refer to another “modern” province. When necessary, we have provided comments on species distribution, species status or possible misidentifications. Some species records are doubted in the following cases:

1) Roewer is infamous for his misidentifications; some of his material were examined and found to be misidentified species and genera; and/or when species was not reported later and is unknown in adjacent countries.

2) records by non-taxonomists, and when the known distribution range of the species lies far from Iran (not known in adjacent Central Asia, Caucasus, Turkey, Levant).