Borneo Island has a long history of physical
connectivity as part of the larger landmass known as the
Sundaland (this includes Java, Sumatra and peninsular Malaysia).
Then Borne isolate from this landmass 30,000 years ago. This
long period allowed time for new species to evolve.
Borneo Island is acknowledged to be among the
most well-preserved rainforest in the region.
The great majority of descriptions of spiders from Southeastern Asia were
before 1900 and as usual in those days consisted of texts written in Latin.
devoted more than 25 years of his life to describing new spider species from the
region of all major families during the last part of the 19th century. Specimens
studied by him were collected mainly during special discovery expeditions to the
unexplored regions of the Oriental tropics.
Thorell was a man of great expertise
and reputation and laid the foundation for the taxonomy of spiders of
Asia. Unfortunately, he did not have an illustrator and none of his works were
– and the great majority of his species still have not been illustrated till
the other hand, nearly all his type material has been very well preserved,
in the museum in Genoa. This museum always has been very conservative in
curating the collections. All material studied by Thorell still is in the
These are often huge, each containing the complete material of one publication,
often consisting of several hundreds of species of many different families
accompanied by the original handwritten labels of Thorell. These bocals are
wax, and only very few staff members are authorised to open them. Removing and
putting back the glass plates that serve as lid is an elaborate process
and expertise. This system is not helpful to specialists who need to see more
than a few
specimens of the family they are working on!
Christa L. Deeleman-Reinhold