Journal Article

  • The Murphy spider collection at the Manchester Museum: a valuable research resource for arachnologists
    Arzuza Buelvas, D.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 6, pages 48 - 59

    Manchester Museum has the third largest spider (Arachnida, Araneae) collection in the UK with c. 175,000 specimens. Following a brief account of the principal spider collections acquired by the Museum between 1910 and 2017, this paper gives an overview of a major collection donated by the British arachnologist John A. Murphy in 2015. The collection contains 45,415 specimens in 25,141 vials, associated archives, and an electronic catalogue analysed in this paper. The collection constitutes an important taxonomic resource, composed of 95 families (80% of the globally known spider families), 1,133 genera (30% of the world genera) and 3,063 species, including type specimens from 14 species of Dysderidae, Zodariidae, and Uloboridae. The collection is global in scope, with species from 72 countries within six of the world’s eight biogeographic regions. The Palaearctic region has the highest number of specimens (21,077), representing 1,515 species from 29 countries. The Murphy spider collection also contains c. 90% (579 species) of the known British spider species from 34 families. Currently, this collection is under recuration and documentation, with some 11,000 records already entered in the Museum database. This collection has been used as a reference for several papers and books, with 911 specimens currently on loan, and five articles published since the collection was acquired by the Manchester Museum in 2015. More than 16,000 specimens have yet to be identified, opening up the possibility for future taxonomic research and publications.

    Keywords: Arachnida, Araneae, British arachnology, John A. Murphy, Frances M. Murphy, natural history collections, spiders