by Rodney L. Crawford


The general lack of prior knowledge about the spiders of the Kuril Islands is equally true of the northern group, as of the southern and central islands previously visited. The only older literature addressing these islands is a few Japanese papers: Saito (1932, 1933, 1935) and Nakatsudi (1937). In Saito's 3 papers, 16 species are recorded from Paramushir, Atlasova [Alaid], and Shumshu (?) (the first paper indicates Shumshu but the others indicate Simushir in the Central Kurils...for the same records!). Of these recorded species, about half are obvious misidentifications which cannot be placed now. Nakatsudi (1937) added one new species from Paramushir. The one modern checklist of Kuril spiders, by Marusik et al. (1992), lists 47 species from Paramushir and Shumshu, based on recent collecting by Russian non-arachnologists. All existing literature about the spiders of the Northern Kuril Islands refers only to the northernmost islands of Paramushir, Shumshu, and Atlasova, and is extremely limited even for these islands. So far as known, no spiders had been recorded or even collected on the northern islands of Antsiferova and Makanrushi, or the central islands of Ryponkicha and Brat Chirpoiev, prior to the IKIP-1997 expedition reported here.

The Marusik et al. (1992) checklist represents a considerable improvement over previous knowledge, but much more clearly remains to be done. This paper was based primarily on collections made by A. M. Basarukin, a vertebrate zoologist, and thus incorporates a bias toward less cryptic forms. Also, the islands were represented unequally, and no ecological information on Kuril Islands spiders has been available. The IKIP-1996 and 1997 expeditions represented the first field work by professional arachnologists in the northern Kuril Islands.

The collaborators on the spider project had somewhat different, and largely complementary, goals. The goal of RLC was to sample all productive habitats equally and produce as balanced a list for each locality and habitat as practicable in the limited time available. The goal of HT was primarily to sample Lycosidae, the "wolf spider" family in which he specializes, and which is represented moderately richly in the northern Kuril Islands, especially on Paramushir.. HT also sampled other spider groups as occasion offered. Due to schedule conflicts, no Russian arachnologist participated in IKIP-1997. TWP directed much of his effort toward spider collecting on these islands; as a non-specialist, he concentrated on augmenting the numbers of specimens collected rather than concentrating on any one group, and was responsible for 31% of the 7,008 spider specimens brought back to the USA this year, including a number of species not taken otherwise. It should be noted that none of the material collected by HT is reported on here, as that was taken back to Japan and has not yet been available for study by RLC.


Within limits imposed by time and access restrictions, an effort was made to collect in diverse vegetation communities. These northern islands are largely lacking in forest; the commonest habitats encountered include shore habitats (stony, meadow, and dune), inland meadow habitats, alder and dwarf-pine thickets, bogs and other wetlands, and (generally unreachable in the time available) stony mountainous habitats. Manmade habitats (buildings and their surroundings) were sampled when available. In the field, collecting sites were defined as 100 X 100 m squares within special habitats. Subsites were defined within sites wherever more than one distinct macrohabitat type was being sampled, and specimen lots were segregated by subsite and microhabitat (common microhabitats: pine shrub foliage, thicket understory foliage, field layer foliage in meadow habitats, leaf litter, moss including Sphagnum from bogs, grass litter, dead wood on ground (especially driftwood), under stones and other objects, and ground surface active); other microhabitats are present in specific macrohabitat types. For macrohabitat definition, trees and some other conspicuous plant species were identified based on prior experience in this archipelago and the resident expertise of expedition botanist Sarah Gage.

Habitat Distribution of 3408 Specimens
(RLC 1997 collections)

Macrohabitats Specimens Percent

Non-sphagnum bog 182 5.4

Sphagnum bog or patch 238 7

Deciduous forest 713 21

Dwarf alder thicket in meadow 683 20

Boulder or cobble beach 44 1.3

Beach meadow terrace 32 1

Foredune 45 1.3

Grass meadow 352 10.3

Open herbaceous meadow 715 21

Shrub "meadow" 210 6

Carex marsh 2 .06

Stream bank 29 .86

Mud flat 5 .15

Treeline and parkland 23 .68

Subalpine and lowland scree 98 2.9

Underground installations 36 1.07


Beaten from fir and spruce foliage 41 1.2

Beaten, Pinus pumila foliage 331 9.7

Beaten, forest understory 207 6

Swept, field layer 434 12.7

Sifted, non-sphagnum moss 109 3

Sifted, sphagnum 239 7

Sifted, deciduous forest litter 342 10

Sifted, Pinus pumila litter 88 2.6

Sifted, Pinus pumila and shrub litter 24 0.7

Sifted, alder thicket litter 707 20.7

Sifted, grass meadow litter 107 3.1

Sifted, herbaceous meadow litter 82 2.4

Sifted, Carex marsh litter 2 0.06

Active on ground 113 3.3

Exposed webs 61 1.8

Under wood and stones, not beach 411 12

Under beach and dune stones 62 1.8

Under driftwood 30 0.9

Under bricks 19 0.6

Main items of collecting equipment and techniques were: 1) heavy duty beating net, 45.7 cm diameter (18 inches) for vegetation sampling; 2) rigid plastic sifting box, 37 X 46 cm, with 1.27 cm (0.5 inch) screen mesh bottom, for moss and litter; 3) aspirator (used mainly by TWP); 4) trowel and cloth for rotten wood, soil surface web, and burrowing spider sampling; 5) dry vial collection (over net to minimize escapes) for under rock sampling; 6) visual searching for ground surface active specimens. HT concentrated on the latter, plus searching under stones and other objects. Due to the lack of large trees, bark and sampling was not generally done, and canopy sampling only during our few days in the south Kurils. Because sites were not revisited, we were unable to use pitfall traps, a considerable loss in potential collection diversity. When weather conditions or shortness of time prevented adequate litter sampling on land, litter and moss samples were brought back to the ship for later processing.

In data recording, macro- and microhabitats were recorded separately for each sample; geographic location was recorded in decimal latitude/longitude to the nearest 0.001 degree, based on the degree-minute-second readings of the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) hand units; also recorded, date and approximate time of sampling. Samples were field labelled with full data by filling in blanks in preprinted labels with a Sakura Micron Pigma permanent ink pen. Checking of GPS-determined coordinates against maps showed that these data cannot be accepted uncritically; it is necessary to set the correct geodetic datum for the region in which one is working , and even so, the error in either latitude or longitude occasionally proved to be several times the nominal value of 100 m. Modern technology not withstanding, the ability to read a map is still of paramount importance in biological collecting. [Since last year, the correct GPS settings to bring instrument readings into correspondence with the geodetic system of Russian maps has been determined by RLC. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, others continued to use the less accurate "WGS 1984" settings. Consequently, coordinates for non-spider locations this year are less accurate, and RLC has modified, with appropriate conversion factors, coordinates taken with the incorrect datum for use on spider labels. The differences, however, are minor when considered on a regional scale.]

Preliminary counts and identification of some spiders taken by American participants was done on the ship with a Wild M5 microscope and a card file of genitalia illustrations. This work was nearly completed for collections taken from the south and central Kurils in the early part of the expedition, and the first two days on Paramushir prior to the storm of 6-7 August. From this point onward, work was nearly continuous and little further field identification had been done when RLC was injured on 20 August, precluding further work of this type for a period of several months. In consequence, the species lists given below are so incomplete, especially for the larger norther islands on which we concentrated this year, that no general conclusions can be drawn from them at this time. Even specimens which were field identified will have to be re-examined for final identification. Those reported below should be considered preliminary and subject to revision.


Southern Kuril Islands

Contrary to announced plans, three full days were spent at Kunashir and an additional day near the town of Kitovyi on Iturup at the beginning of the expedition. The additional work on Kunashir, in particular, was beneficial; this island, one of the two richest in spider fauna in the entire archipelago (the other is Shikotan), merits as much additional work as can be managed.

26-27 July. Due to some sort of logistical problem or misunderstanding, most of the terrestrial collectors were forced to remain on the ship these days. Those who did go ashore revisited the "goby hot springs" area, from which TWP, B.K.Urbain, and Todd Ritchie brought back 142 spiders for the two days, including several valuable new finds. Habitats sampled included Sasa (dwarf bamboo) litter, forest understory foliage, streamside foliage, ground surface active and one spider from a Malaise trap sample.

28 July. Thanks to an invigorating hike from Yuzhno-Kurilsk, RLC finally reached a lovely near-shore bog that had been bypassed during previous organized vehicle-based work on Kunashir. In a little over 2 hours on site, dense shrubland, bog meadow, Abies sachalinensis forest, and non-Sphagnum moss bog were sampled. Microhabitats included fir foliage, meadow vegetation, and moss sifting, for a total of 132 specimens.

Total specimens brought back from Kunashir this year: 274.

29 July. In a half day (1200-1730) available for collecting in the Kitovyi area of Iturup Island, the entire expedition visited a wooded stream valley (Podoshevka River) at the site of an abandoned fish hatchery. This area proved extremely productive of spider specimens, though few of the species taken represented any novelty over previous collections on this side of Iturup. Macrohabitats included Sorbus commixta - Betula ermanii hillside forest, Alnus - Acer mono streamside forest, various other riparian habitats, and bare surfaces of roadsides and forest trails. Microhabitats included forest litter, understory foliage, ground surface active, under objects on ground, and streamside foliage and litter. American collectors took 897 spider and harvestman specimens here, of which RLC took 393 and TWP, 355.

30-31 July. The annual IKIP visit to this site for drinking water gave us some opportunity to visit parts of the area not seen during the three previous years of visits to this site. Though most species taken were unsurprising, there were a few very interesting new records, probably related to our being here earlier than in previous years. (A later return to this site, 22 August, occurred while RLC was in the hospital in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.) On 30 July, RLC went out the crest of the headland at the north side of the bay, sampling in glades of deciduous woodland and, later, beach meadow habitat. Microhabitats included mixed forest litter, understory and meadow foliage, under stones. Total specimens from this area (all dates), 204.

Total specimens brought back from Iturup this year: 1101.

Ushishir Islands

This group includes the spectacular crater-lake island of Yankicha, previously visited by IKIP-1995, the smaller, nearby Ryponkicha, visited for the first time by IKIP-1997, and several smaller islets. This year's visit was largely for the benefit of a Korean television crew, accompanying us to obtain wildlife footage (in this case, of birds). Nevertheless, spider results were of value.

1 August. After morning fog, we landed on Yankicha after lunch and spent about 4.5 hours collecting. As in 1995, landing was on a peninsula projecting into Kraternaya Bay (the submerged crater whose waters are thermal). Vegetation on parts of the peninsula was herbaceous meadow dominated by Trollia sp., buttercup-like yellow flowers. The surrounding slopes were tall-grass meadow, in many places nearly a monoculture of Calamagrostis sp., but with other species and herbs appearing occasionally. No woody shrubs were seen. Microhabitats included litter of both grass and herb meadows, field layer foliage, ground surface active, and under stones. The island proved productive for HT's lycosid collecting. Spiders and harvestmen taken by American participants, 362 specimens.

2 August. A very regrettable misunderstanding led to RLC's not landing on Ryponkicha. Such spider collecting as was done, was largely in habitats similar to Yankicha's. Only one participant, Duane Stevenson, collected spiders in the tundra-like habitats on the island's crest, and his collection included the most interesting species taken at Ushishir this year, one which has been unseen since its original description from Kamchatka. In all, 119 specimens

Total specimens brought back from Ushishir this year: 481.

Lovushki Rocks

These rocks (some vegetated, some not, but all very small) are notable chiefly for fur seals. They were visited but not landed on by IKIP-1996. A more extended stay (the greater part of a day) in 1997 was dictated by the "wildlife photography" needs of the Korean group; at the same time, one American, one Japanese and one Russian scientist were landed for a little more than one hour on one islet.

3 August. Of 4 rocky islets visible from ship, two appeared to be vegetated. Duane Stevenson landed (with others) on the higher of these, Skala Dolgaya, and reported that not more than half the islet is vegetated, mainly with grass (3 plant species collected in all). He brought back a litter sample, consisting of the remains of old sea-bird nests, a considerable amount of matted grass roots with guano-based soil, and a relatively small amount of true grass litter. The contents included Collembola, mites, fly larvae, oligochaetes, adult flies (mainly brachypterous), several beetle species, and 4 specimens of one spider species. All the spider specimens are immature; a tentative identification is possible but will require considerable effort and has not yet been done.

Paramushir Island

Paramushir, a large island which is probably the most faunistically diverse of the northern Kurils (from its size, proximity to Kamchatka, and topographic variety), was sampled on 8 days separated by work on other islands. On 4-5 August 1997, two areas accessible by road from the town of Severo-Kurilsk were visited; on 11 August, a sea landing was made (for reasons unknown to this writer) directly at a site previously visited by road in 1996; on 13-17 August, a series of stops were made at sites on the western and southern sides of the island. These included the other site previously visited in 1996, so only six days' landings were at new sites. Thanks to limited time and access on Paramushir this year, most of the island is still biologically unexplored.

4 August. All participants were taken by Russian army truck (over promising-looking uplands, where we did not stop) to a small, unnamed lake in the coastal lowlands north of the city of Severo-Kurilsk, in the drainage of the Savushkina River. This lake was completely surrounded by meadlowland, lacking the extensive alder thickets found in most parts of the north Kurils. Macrohabitats sampled included a sedge meadow around the lake with areas of Sphagnum bog; and a small stand of Pinus pumila upslope from the lake. Microhabitats sampled included field layer vegetation (no spiders), pine foliage, pine litter, Sphagnum, and ground surface active. Other participants collected from sedge and grass meadow litter. American participants (mainly RLC) took 260 spider specimens over the brief time available of 2.5 hours.

5 August. Thanks to advance scouting by Tim Pearce, who arrived on Paramushir ahead of the ship, we had our first (and only to date) opportunity to collect in the mountains of Paramushir. The same army truck transported us to a trailhead on the slopes of Ebeko Volcano, where (thanks to numerous mechanical breakdowns) we arrived at mid-day, leaving about 3 hours to collect in the elevation range of 300-450 meters. Collecting conditions were not the most favorable: there was a light but penetrating drizzle of rain all day, which must have been the first rain here in weeks because the litter was almost completely dry. Nevertheless, collections from alder and pine thickets near treeline and rocky scree adjacent to a large snowfield produced some very interesting specimens. Microhabitats: alder litter, pine foliage, under stones, grass-herb litter. American collectors took 237 spiders and harvestmen, plus a number of centipedes.

11 August. This day's landing from the ship, on the east side of Paramushir, was at virtually the same spot (Utyosnaya Slope) we had visited by road on the first day of field work in 1996. Several participants therefore did only limited work here. However, RLC (with D. Stevenson and T. Ritchie) hiked 5-7 km down the coast over a primitive trail in order to break new ground in sampling. While DES and TIR did aquatic work in the Severyanka River, RLC collected in an area of rolling old-dune topography south of the Lagernoye Plateau, which had a great variety of vegetation communities, including large stands of several shrub species (including alder), varied meadow types, and a very small but beautiful and productive Sphagnum bog. Microhabitats including Sphagnum moss, meadow sweeping, and alder litter produced 166 specimens (including some of the most interesting of this year's material) in the 4 hours available for collecting. Others took few specimens this day; the total for American collectors was 174.

13 August. Landing was at a dock near the village of Shelekhovo on the west side of Paramushir. Due to having gone to Severo-Kurilsk in the morning to pick up the Korean group, less than 4 hours were available for collecting here, so potentially interesting inland sites went unvisited. RLC climbed a hill above Shelekhova Bay and found, at the crest, an abandoned two-room underground "house" which contained a large number of spiders. Others were taken in nearby alder thicket and meadow habitats, and near the beach and shore bluff. Microhabitats: exposed underground webs; Alnus-Sorbus-Filipendula litter; riparian meadow litter; under stones in beach terrace meadow. American collectors took 244 spider and harvestman specimens.

14 August. Landing was at Krasheninnikova Bay, not far southwest of the previous day's site but a great contrast in setting. Instead of low hills with the familiar coastal vegetation, we were at the foot of a range of high mountains, the Karpinski Range, with peaks of 1400-1816 m (the latter being, at one point, only 4 km from the sea!). Though fog kept the peaks invisible most of the day, they had a profound influence on habitats, especially around the Alyenushkina River, a rushing mountain stream on which RLC, Schweikert and Ritchie collected. Habitats here included streamside rocky areas, snowfields, steep meadows, alder thickets, and an area of taller alder trees protected in the stream canyon. Collecting from under stones, alder litter, and webs made visible by the fog, RLC took good series of spiders in this setting, and a further sample from a Sphagnum bog surprisingly found in the beach meadow terrace here. Others collected near a second stream, the slower moving Krasheninnikova River, offering more familiar meadow habitats which were sampled by sweeping and litter sorting. American collectors took 428 arachnid specimens here, one of the three best samples from Paramushir.

15 August. A very short collecting period on Paramushir resulted from spending the morning on Antsiferova, followed by trouble with the landing craft. The site was Cape Kapustnyi, across Vasil'yeva Gulf from the Vasil'yeva Peninsula at the south end of the island. The 2 hours available did not allow reaching any habitats beyond the low grassy hills of the cape itself, which featured a disused lighthouse and a large, shallow brackish lake that teemed with Notostraca ("tadpole shrimp"). Unfortunately, these habitats proved extremely poor in spiders, though RLC and A. Lelej did collect a male and female, respectively, of a species of "cuckoo bumblebee", Psithyrus, new to the archipelago. While TWP pursued grass litter fauna, RLC located one small rocky area above the dunes at the very summit of the peninsula, and this yielded a few interesting spiders under stones. Total specimens for the day, 139, mainly taken by TWP.

16 August: The expedition landed well out on the Vasil'yeva Peninsula, a low-lying southward extension of Paramushir probably originating in sand-dunes, though now well vegetated over much of its area. Spiders of this peninsula had previously been sampled by IKIP on 3 August 1996. Therefore, RLC took another 5-6 km hike up the length of the peninsula to the Bolshoi River a little northwest from its base. Pearce and Ritchie independently hiked to this same area. In the valley of a tributary of the main river, RLC found a variety of habitats, including young developing Sphagnum bog, varied meadow types, and alder thickets, with stands of Pinus pumila on the plateau above. Unfortunately, none of the habitats at this site proved especially productive of spiders, but the sample is expected to produce interesting records. A site on the main peninsula, visited on the way back to the ship, proved even more disappointing. TWP and others, sampling well out on the peninsula, took more specimens. Microhabitats included Sphagnum moss, alder litter, field layer vegetation, ground surface active; at the southern site, meadow litter and anthropogenic habitats in the ruins of an old Japanese military installation. American collectors took 488 specimens for the day, though fewer novelties are expected from this sample.

17 August. For our last day on Paramushir, we landed at Cape Baklanii, east of the Tukharka River in the southeast part of the island. An apparently well-used bear trail led from the beach into uplands with a patchwork of meadow, alder, and pine which proved exceptionally productive of spiders. RLC sampled alder litter, pine litter, pine foliage, and the ruins of an old shack, while TWP sampled near-shore meadow litter, under stones, and webs in plants; in a short collecting day of 4.5 hours, 449 specimens were taken. This was the third really good spider sample from Paramushir.

Total specimens brought to USA from Paramushir: 2734.

Shumshu Island

Of the North Kuril Islands, Shumshu is second largest after Paramushir, but is strikingly different in character from any of the other larger islands; completely lacking mountains, it consists mainly of a rolling plateau 100-140 m in elevation, and the highest point on the island is 189 m. Maps show much of the island to be covered with small lakes and wetlands, so RLC came here with high hopes of finding many Sphagnum bogs, these being the most productive of all spider habitats. Unfortunately, none of the three sites where the expedition landed gave access to portions of the interior of the island where such bogs may be found. Also, our work on this island was cut short by a storm that aborted our first landing there, and prevented American and Japanese participants from landing on the island for two days. Shumshu and Paramushir both require much additional work for even a reasonable subsample of their late-summer spider faunas.

8 August. This day's landing, like the Russians-only landing of the previous day, was on the eastern shore of Shumshu near Cape Pochtareva, and a little more than 12 km from the south tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula across the Pervyi Kurilskii Strait. This corner of the island is deficient in the lakes and wetlands that occupy much of the interior, and is a relatively dry plateau 70-100 m in elevation, dissected by streams. The landing site was at one of these streams, which was bordered by some marshy riparian habitat. TWP and some others collected there while RLC struck overland for about 4 km in an unsuccessful quest for Sphagnum bogs. Interesting habitats encountered in this walk included large tracts of shrub "meadow" with contiguous patches of Pinus pumila, alder, heather, and rhododendron, over which it was necessary to walk at some little height above the actual ground; and a ruined wartime Japanese installation including intact underground bunkers, where some very interesting spider species were found in a cave-like environment. Microhabitats sampled included (RLC) non-Sphagnum moss and litter in a small upland wetland; pine shrub foliage; pine-rhododendron litter; ground surface active; under rotting wood in underground bunker; under stones in meadow; small Sphagnum patch in ravine; (other collectors) various types of meadow foliage and litter. Total specimens for a 7-hour collecting day, 532.

9 August. Landing was near the northwest corner of Shumshu, near Bol'shoye Lake, a very large lake separated from the sea by a dune ridge, and similar to many coastal lakes visited by previous expeditions. The large sedge meadow surrounding the lake had very little Sphagnum and very few spiders, so RLC hiked along a road into the nearby foothills, where a reasonably productive patchwork of meadow, alder thicket, and pine shrub thicket was found. Microhabitats included moss and litter of sedge meadow (2 spiders for half-hour of sampling!), pine foliage, pine litter, alder litter, meadow foliage, and under stones. Other collectors took few spiders. Total specimens, 273 for our first full 8-hour collecting day in the north Kurils in 1997. Although this was the smallest number of our three days on Shumshu, it appears to be the most diverse and interesting of the three samples.

10 August. Landing was at the mouth of the Yuzhanka River near the south tip of Shumshu. Some small lakes were present in the river's flood plain, but no true Sphagnum bogs. Moreover, we landed right after a heavy rainfall, rendering vegetation sampling impractical. Therefore, RLC found a convenient spot in the deep ravine of a tributary stream and spent most of the day sampling alder litter spiders. Later in the day, some worthwhile specimens were taken under objects on the old-dune meadows, and from the relatively quick-drying pine foliage. HT had especially good collecting of ground surface active wolf spiders here. TWP and B.Urbain took smaller numbers from meadow habitats. Total American-collected arachnids for the day, 290.

Total specimens brought to USA from Shumshu: 1095.

Atlasova Island

Only one day, fortunately with very favorable weather, was available for work on this fairly large island, most northerly of the Kurils. No spiders have been collected here since several species were listed in three papers by pioneer Japanese arachnologist Saburo Saito (1932, 1933, 1935). Aside from obvious misidentifications that cannot now be placed, six species were listed from Atlasova in these papers. Five are well-known today, but one, Theridion araitense Saito, was described as new and has not been recognized since. With luck, it should be possible to place this species (probably as a synonym) using the material collected on Atlasova in 1997.

12 August. Landing was at Alaidskaya Bay not far from the long-abandoned village of Atlasovo. Most of the island consists of the regular, relatively steep slopes of Alaid Volcano (by which name the island is sometimes known), but at the southern tip where we landed there is a relatively level coastal plain, the substrate consisting mainly of black volcanic sand overlain by very thin soil. Spiders were very numerous here, though the number of species appeared to be smaller than at comparable sites on Paramushir or Shumshu. Collecting was done in anthropogenic habitats, alder thickets (which are very extensive here and almost continuous on parts of the mountain slope), grass and herb meadows, and beach habitats. Microhabitats sampled included under driftwood, bricks, and boards; alder litter; meadow vegetation; meadow litter; ground surface active. Americans collected, in a 7-hour collecting day, 635 specimens on Atlasova. HT was very successful in sampling the lycosid fauna here, taking 8 species (RLC took 5 or 6).

Footnote to Atlasova: we learned later that the volcano is suspected to have erupted on August 23, when satellite imagery detected a hot spot and ash fell on nearby parts of Kamchatka. On the other hand, a fishing boat only 10 km from the island noticed nothing, so perhaps we'll never really know. Had we but been there 11 days later...

Antsiferova Island

This tiny island off the southwest coast of Paramushir was not even shown on our smaller-scale maps. It is of the bird rookery type, and the steep sides precluded penetration into the interior. Apparently this island has not previously been visited by scientists of any kind.

15 August. On a foggy morning we spent 1.5 hours collecting near the rocky shoreline and partway up the clifflike bluffs on the north side. Bare rocky habitats spattered with bird guano dominated in some areas, with patchy vegetation of Elymus and a few common herbs. RLC collected under stones at the foot of the cliffs, B.Urbain under higher stones, TWP from grass litter, and T.Pearce from grass and herb litter; all four contributed about equally to a total of 171 arachnid specimens.

Makanrushi Island

Makanrushi is the largest and apparently the richest of the four islands from which no spiders had been collected prior to IKIP-1997. The north and central parts of this island are occupied by a high, irregular volcano; at the southern tip (where we landed) are extensive grassy flats; in between, a "foothill" area with lovely, varied topography. At the south base of these slopes, was the first alder "forest" (trees significantly higher than my head) I have seen in the north Kurils. Voles and their fox predators are abundant on this island.

18 August. After a fairly difficult landing, RLC started by seeking bog habitats in the grassy flats of the Cape Poludennyi area, south end of the island. The moss and litter here proving relatively unproductive, the alder "forest" at the base of the slopes was tried with much better results from litter. An ascent into the hills to an apparent hanging valley led to the richest under-stone spider fauna of the entire expedition, and reasonable samples from vegetation and ground surface active. A number of days would have been required to properly explore the rich network of habitats in this foothill area. Meanwhile, others sampled meadow litter and vegetation, moss, and had similarly good results in under-stone fauna at other sites. American collectors took 584 arachnid specimens here in 6.5 hours.

Brat Chirpoiev Island

This small (4 by 6 km) island, consisting mainly of a volcano rising from the sea, was the last sizeable island in the Central Kurils that had not been visited by IKIP, and from which no spiders had previously been collected. Two previous attempts to land here had failed due to waves or surf. However, this year's landing, in the last day devoted to field work before return (via Iturup and Kunashir) to Vladivostok, proved surprisingly easy.

20 August. After landing, RLC proceeded to a large deposit of boulder talus (which had been visible from the ship) to collect under stones. This was successful to the extent of 54 specimens in a little over an hour. Unfortunately, further spider collecting was halted when my foot dislodged a loose stone, starting a rockslide of which I formed part, ending with a crushed left hand, possible cracked rib, and assorted bruises. Others collected more spiders here, chiefly from grass and herb litter and under stones. In all, American collectors took 229 arachnid specimens here. Although I later returned to the ship, due to my injury I was unable to continue with field identifications. That accounts for the relative brevity of the following list.

21-24 August. In the course of evacuation to the district hospital in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Sakhalin (via ship, military vehicle, military plane, and ambulance), and subsequent return to the ship, I saw portions of the Pacific coast of Iturup, which IKIP has never visited. The vegetation there differs from what we have seen on the west side of the island by the prominence of wind-modified tree and plant forms, as commonly seen on the coast of Oregon. Collecting visits to this area might be of interest. Habitats seen on southern Sakhalin included very lush and diverse looking deciduous forest and field habitats that can be expected to be very productive, though perhaps work on Sakhalin should not be considered until some future project.

Subsequent work on my crushed hand by Russian and American physicians revealed seven fractures in four fingers plus other crush injuries. As of this writing, the hand is still in therapy but has improved to the extent of allowing me to type with both hands and to manipulate specimens. Work on IKIP spiders will continue!



Symbols: M = males, F = females, J = juveniles

Abbreviation Island Specimens (to USA) Days+Part Days Species (USA specimens)

PA Paramushir 2434 7.5 ?

SU Shumshu 1095 3 ?

AL Atlasova 635 1 ?

AN Antsiferova 171 .5 ?

MK Makanrushi 584 1 ?

Total, N. islands 4919 13 ?

LV Lovushki Rocks 4 1 1

US Yankicha 362 1 20

RY Ryponkicha 119 1 17

BC Brat Chirpoiev 229 1 ?

IT Iturup 1101 4 57

KU Kunashir 274 3 52

Total, S&C. islands 2089 11 100

Grand total 7008 24 ?

The species statistics given above and identifications given below are only estimates, from preliminary field ID. Many specimens have not been identified to species level yet and some other preliminary identifications will be changed. Only a small proportion of the specimens from Paramushir, Shumshu, Atlasova, Makanrushi and Brat Chirpoiev have been identified to date. The following discussions are largely of specimens collected before 6 August.

Some Preliminary Identifications of Spider and Harvestmen Specimens

The following records include the first collections by IKIP from Atlasova and Shumshu, and the first spiders known to have been collected on Antsiferova, Makanrushi, Ryponkicha, and Brat Chirpoiev.

Order Araneida

Family Amaurobiidae

Cybaeopsis typica, IT.

Family Dictynidae

Dictyna major, IT.

Dictyna uncinata, IT. First mature specimen collected by IKIP; new record for Iturup.

Family Tetragnathidae

Tetragnatha pinicola, KU, IT.

Tetragnatha yezoensis, KU, IT.

Tetragnatha extensa, KU, IT, PA, SU.

Metleucauge yunohamensis, KU.

Metleucauge kompirensis, KU.

Meta sp. nr. manchurica, KU. This collection includes the first male of this species to be collected in the Kuril Islands. It confirms that the species there is not one of the generally recognized ones. Unless some old Japanese name can be found for it, it will be described as new.

Family Araneidae

Araniella sp., KU. This species and the following one mark the first mature specimens of this genus collected by IKIP, confirming that two species (one probably undescribed) are present. This species was illustrated but not described by Chikuni (1989b).

Araniella cucurbitina, IT.

Larinioides cornutus, KU, IT, PA, SU.

Zilla sachalinensis, IT.

Family Nesticidae

Howaia brevipes, KU, IT.

Family Theridiidae

Achaearanea albipes, KU.

Achaearanea culicivora, KU.

Argyrodes saganus, KU.

Theridion nigrolimbatum, KU, IT.

Robertus ungulatus, KU.

Robertus lividus, US, PA.

Robertus sibiricus, PA. New record for archipelago.

Enoplognatha tecta, IT, RY, PA, SU, AL.

Dipoena?? sp., SU. Probable new species, genus uncertain.

Family Linyphiidae

Neriene emphana, KU, IT.

Neriene clathrata, KU.

Neriene angulifera, IT.

Neriene basarukini, KU, IT.

Strandella quadrimaculata, KU.

Oreonetides shimizui, IT.

Oreonetides vaginatus, US, PA, SU.

Herbiphantes cericeus, KU.

Ainerigone saitoi, KU, IT.

Savignia saitoi, IT, US, AN.

Savignia birostrum, PA. New record for archipelago. This bizarre little species was originally described from Alaska in 1947.

Sisicottus panopeus, AN.

Eboria simplex, RY. New record for archipelago. This species was described from Kamchatka in 1908 but has not been found in this region since, though Eskov (1994) listed a few records from continental Siberia.

Maso sundevallii, IT.

Oia imadatei, IT.

Hilaira canaliculata, US, RY. New record for archipelago.

Hilaira herniosa, US, SU.

Hilaira nubigena, AN. New record for archipelago.

Hilaira cf. tatrica, AN.

Porrhomma pallidum, US. New record for archipelago.

Ceratinella #1, IT, SU.

Ceratinella wideri, US.

Ceraticelus sibiricus, PA, SU.

Centromerus terrigenus, IT.

Centromerus sylvaticus, US, RY, PA, SU, AN.

Ummeliata erigonoides, KU. New record for archipelago.

Ummeliata osakaensis, IT.

Ummeliata angulitubera, IT.

Lepthyphantes sachalinensis, KU.

Lepthyphantes sp. nov., US, RY. A common, undescribed species taken in every year of IKIP to date.

Lepthyphantes expunctus, PA. New record for archipelago.

Lepthyphantes indet. nr. expunctus, PA. Probably new.

Lepthyphantes cf. angulatus, PA, SU.

Lepthyphantes taczanowskii, PA. New record for archipelago.

Lepthyphantes mengei, PA, SU. New record for archipelago.

Lepthyphantes alacris, SU.

Lepthyphantes dybowskii, SU. New record for archipelago.

Lepthyphantes zimmermanni, AL. New record for archipelago.

Nispa barbatus, KU.

Pocadicnemis pumila, IT.

Tmeticus japonicus, KU, IT.

Tmeticus tolli, PA. New record for archipelago.

Linyphiid indet. female, long parallel tubes, KU, IT.

Hylyphantes nigritus, KU.

Erigone atra, KU, PA.

Erigone arctica sibiruca, PA(f), SU(m). New record for archipelago.

Gnathonarium suppositum, KU, IT, US, RY, PA, SU. A specimen from SU had been killed by an entomogenous fungus, the first such find for a Kuril Islands spider.

Bathyphantes setiger, KU, RY, SU.

Bathyphantes pogonias, IT, US, RY, PA.

Bathyphantes sp. indet., US. Probably new.

Bathyphantes humilis, PA. New record for archipelago.

Bathyphantes simillimus, AN. New record for archipelago.

Halorates ezoensis, KU.

Halorates submissus, IT.

Pseudaphileta sp., KU.

Carorita sp. #1, IT.

Wubanoides septentrionalis, IT.

Walckenaeria golovatchi, IT.

Walckenaeria clavicornis, US, RY.

Walckenaeria fusiceps, RY.

Walckenaeria picetorum, PA.

Walckenaeria nishikawai, KU.

Walckenaeria cf. cuspidata, PA. Probable new species.

Walckenaeria cuspidata, SU.

Walckenaeria nudipalpis, AN.

Leptorhoptrum robustum, IT, US, RY, PA, SU.

Hypomma affine, IT.

Baryphyma kulczynskii, RY, PA.

Scotinotylus antennatus, BC.

Meioneta mollis, PA, SU.

Meioneta #1, PA.

Agyneta trifurcata, PA.

Tunagyna debilis, PA.

Diplocentria bidentata, PA, SU, AN.

Diplocentria sp.nov.nr.bidentata, PA.

Dismodicus sp., PA.

Micrargus apertus, PA.

Erigonoploides sp.nov., PA.

Poeciloneta dokachaevi, PA, SU.

Poeciloneta globosa, SU.

Poeciloneta sp.nov., SU. New species.

Lophomma sp., SU.

Family Lycosidae

Pirata piratoides, KU. New record for archipelago.

Pirata yaginumai, KU. New record for archipelago.

Pirata sp. indet,. KU. Apparently a new species; not recognized by Tanaka, who is a specialist in the group.

Pirata piraticus, KU.

Pardosa lugubris, IT.

Pardosa astrigera, IT.

Pardosa paramushirensis, AL.

Pardosa riparia, IT.

Pardosa palustris, US, RY, PA, SU, AL.

Pardosa atrata, PA.

Trochosa terricola, IT, PA, AL.

Xerolycosa nemoralis, IT.

Family Agelenidae (sensu lato)

Cybaeus basarukini, IT.

Family Hahniidae

Neoantistea sp.n., BC.

Family Clubionidae (sensu lato)

Cheiracanthium sp., probably erraticum, KU, IT, PA.

Cheiracanthium japonicum, IT. New record for archipelago. This specimen, a mature male taken by B.Urbain at Konservnaya Bay, will force re-evaluation of previous Cheiracanthium material from the south Kurils, all of which has been assumed to be C. erraricum.

Clubiona ezoensis, IT, SU, BC.

Clubiona kurilensis, IT.

Clubiona mayumiae, IT, AL.

Clubiona sapporensis, IT.

Clubiona propinqua, PA.

Clubiona latericia, PA, SU.

Clubiona riparia, SU.

Family Gnaphosidae

Haplodrassus sp., PA, AL.

Subfamily Philodrominae

Philodromus cespitum, IT.

Philodromus aryy, IT. New record for archipelago.

Tibellus oblongus, IT.

Tibellus maritimus, PA.

Subfamily Thomisinae

Xysticus kurilensis, KU.

Xysticus nemoralis, AL. New record for archipelago.

Lysiteles coronatus, KU.

Lysiteles maior, IT.

Ozyptila trux, RY, SU.

Family Salticidae

Yaginumaella ususudi, KU, IT.

Synageles venator, KU.

Phintella sp., KU.

Order Phalangida

Family Nipponopsalidididae

Nipponopsalis yezoensis, IT, US, RY, AN.

Family Ischyropsalididae

Sabacon makinoi, IT.

Family Phalangiidae

Indet. sp., PA. Probable new species, genus undetermined.

Tchapinius sp., PA. New record for archipelago of this genus, originally described from Kamchatka; also first specimens of genus in a North American collection, valuable for future revisionary work.

Oligolophus aspersus, KU, IT.

Homolophus arcticus, PA, SU, AL.

Mitopus morio, IT, PA, SU.

Mizozatus flavidus, US, RY, SU, AN, BC.

Phalangium opilio, KU, IT. A synanthropic species.

Family Sclerosomatidae

Leiobunum globosum, KU, IT.

Leiobunum sp. indet., PA.

Nelima genufusca, KU, IT.


Completeness of Data

As with previous years' collecting in other parts of the archipelago, our sample this year from the northern Kuril Islands gives a very incomplete picture of the total spider fauna. Taking the data gathered by our expedition and that published by Marusik et al. (1992) together, RLC is reasonably sure that no one of the islands visited has as much as 50% of its spider species now known. (See more extended discussion in 1996 report.).

Taxonomic Information

Since the majority of the 1997 arachnid material has not even been tentatively identified as yet, the new species and new records indicated in the above list are expected to represent only a small proportion of what is present in the whole collection. Therefore, a separate listing is not called for at this time.

Other Notable Finds

Collection of the second terrestrial pseudoscorpion specimen from the Kuril Islands (all those collected in 1995 were an intertidal species, Halobisium orientale.)

Collection of material on Atlasova that will probably resolve the identify of Theridion araitense S. Saito, 1932, described from that island and unseen since original description.

Collection of a spider that had been killed by a possibly-new species of entomogenous fungus.

Collection on Paramushir of the bizarre spider Savignya birostrum (Chamberlin and Ivie), originally described from Alaska.

An apparent new harvestman species found on Paramushir, and the first specimens of the harvestman genus Tchapinius (described from Kamchatka) to be deposited in an American collection.

Also collected were 187 Lithobiomorph centipedes, which along with the even larger collections by Roth and others in 1995 and a moderate collection from 1996, will provide material for a paper on inter-island variation and incipient speciation in the two (variable) species mainly represented, Ezembius rapax and E. stejnegeri.

Another accomplishment worth reporting was the completion in Spring 1997 of final identification, curation, and cataloguing of the 1995 spider, harvestman, and centipede collections, including much of the material collected by Russian colleague Marusik which he donated to the Burke Museum, keeping only groups of special interest to him. This work greatly expanded the number of species and new records, including some very interesting ones, from those listed in previous field reports.

Zoogeographic Relationships

Having now visited the entire length of the Kuril Archipelago, we can begin to identify north-south distribution patterns of species and higher taxa. It is, perhaps, a bit early to do this for many species, since the collection is so incomplete. However, a summary of the presently known north-south distribution of spider and harvestman taxa at the family level is interesting and is presented in the table below.


This table is updated from the one in the 1996 report, with some additional records from 1997.

Notes: the KU column includes records from Shikotan and Zelionyi as well as Kunashir. Records from these islands and Iturup include literature records. S-CENT indicates the islands from Urup north to Rasshua, sampled mainly by IKIP-95. N-CENT includes the islands from Shiashkotan to Kharimkotan, sampled by IKIP-96. The PA et al. column also includes literature records, and includes the few 1997 specimens identified to date from Shumshu, Antsiferova, and Atlasova.



Amaurobiidae X X X X

Dictynidae X X

Pholcidae X X

Tetragnathidae X X X X X X

Araneidae X X X X X

Mimetidae X X X

Theridiosomatidae X X X

Mysmenidae X

Nesticidae X X X

Theridiidae X X X X X X X

Linyphiidae X X X X X X X

Pisauridae X

Lycosidae X X X X X X X

Agelenidae (s.l.) X X X

Hahniidae X X X

Anyphaenidae X X

Clubionidae (s.l.) X X X X X X X

Gnaphosidae X X X X X X

Philodrominae X X X X X X

Thomisinae X X X X X X X

Salticidae X X X


Nipponopsalididae X X X X X X X

Ischyropsalididae X X X

Caddidae X X

Phalangiidae X X X X X X X

Sclerosomatidae X X X

For comments on the distribution patterns in the above table, see the 1996 report. Identification of 1997 material is, as yet, too incomplete for those statements to be modified meaningfully.


Chikuni, Yasunosuke. 1989a. Pictorial encyclopedia of spiders in Japan. Tokyo: Kaisei-Sha Publishing Company, 306 pp.

_____. 1989b. Some interesting Japanese spiders of the families Amaurobiidae, Araneidae and Salticidae. in: Yoshiaki Nishikawa and Hirotsugu Ono, eds. Arachnological Papers Presented to Takeo Yaginuma on the Occasion of His Retirement. Osaka: Osaka Arachnologists' Group. Pp. 133-152.

Eskov, K. Yu. 1994. Catalogue of the linyphiid spiders of northern Asia (Arachnida, Araneae, Linyphiidae). Moscow: Pensoft Publishers, 142 pp.

Marusik, Yu.M., K.Yu. Eskov, D.V. Logunov, and A.M. Basarukin. 1992. A check-list of spiders (Arachnida Aranei) from Sakhalin and Kurile Islands. Arthropoda Selecta 1(4): 73-85.

Nakatsudi, K. 1937. Notes on a new genus and two new species of Arachnida from the island of Paramushir, Northern Kuriles, Japan. Journal of Agricultural Science (Tokyo) 1(1): 22-27, pl. 1.

Saito, S. 1932. Descriptions of two new species of Araneida from the Northern Kurile Islands. Transactions of the Sapporo Natural History Society 12(2-3): 100-104.

Saito, S. 1933. Araneida from the Northern Kurile Islands, with descriptions of two new species. Bulletin of the Biogeographical Society of Japan 4(2): 122-132.

Saito, S. 1935. Spiders from the Northern Kurile Islands II. Transactions of the Sapporo Natural History Society 14(1): 55-56.

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