Norman Ira Platnick (December 30, 1951 – April 8, 2020) was an American biological systematist and arachnologist.[1] At the time of his death, he was a professor emeritus of the Richard Gilder Graduate School and Peter J. Solomon Family Curator Emeritus of the invertebrate zoology department of the American Museum of Natural History. A 1973 Ph.D. recipient at Harvard University, Platnick described over 1,800 species of spiders from around the world, making him the second most prolific spider taxonomist in history, behind only Eugène Simon.[2] Until 2014 he was also the maintainer of the World Spider Catalog, a website formerly hosted by the AMNH which tracks the arachnology literature, and attempts to maintain a comprehensive list, sorted taxonomically, of every species of spider which has been formally described. In 2007 he received the International Society of Arachnology's Bonnet award, named for Pierre Bonnet, in recognition of his work on the catalog.[3]

Norman Ira Platnick
Norman Platnick in 2001 at the 15th International Congress of Arachnology, Badplaas, South Africa
Born(1951-12-30)December 30, 1951
DiedApril 8, 2020(2020-04-08) (aged 68)
Alma materHarvard University (Ph.D)
Michigan State University (M.S.) Concord University (B.S.)
Known forSpider taxonomy
Scientific career
InstitutionsAmerican Museum of Natural History

Platnick was recognized as a world leader in spider taxonomy. Dr. Quentin D. Wheeler stated "He is the best arachnologist of his generation, has published more monographs and nomenclatural contributions than anyone, period."[1] Platnick was one of the founding members of the Willi Hennig Society and its fourth President (1991–1992). His contributions to theoretical cladistics, such as his 1981 book, Systematics and Biogeography: Cladistics and Vicariance[4] (coauthored with Gareth Nelson), are also highly regarded.

Platnick's later undertaking involved the goblin spiders of Oonopidae as a part of the Planetary Biodiversity Inventory, a project which includes scientific institutions from across the world.[5] There are currently about 1,600 recorded species in 114 genera,[6] but estimates have been placed as high as 2,500;[7] the project aims to flesh out the recorded species list and gain a more exact picture of the family's Phylogeny through DNA analysis.

Platnick died April 8, 2020, of complications following a fall.[8][9] He is commemorated in the names of 8 genera and over 50 species of invertebrates.[10]

Notable publications Edit

  • Platnick, N.I. (1973): A Revision of the North American Spiders of the Family Anyphaenidae. Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University.
  • Gertsch, Willis J. & Platnick, N.I. (1979): A revision of the spider family Mecicobothriidae (Araneae, Mygalomorphae)." American Museum Novitates 2687 Abstract, PDF
  • Nelson, G. J. & Platnick, N. I. (1981): Systematics and biogeography: cladistics and vicariance. Columbia University Press, New York. 567 pp.
  • Platnick, N. I. (1990): Spinneret Morphology and the Phylogeny of Ground Spiders (Araneae, Gnaphosoidea). American Museum Novitates 2978: 1–42. PDF (33Mb)
  • Platnick, N. I., Coddington, J.A., Forster, R.R., and Griswold, C.E. (1991): Spinneret Morphology and the Phylogeny of Haplogyne Spiders (Araneae, Araneomorphae). American Museum Novitates 3016: 1–73. PDF (50Mb)
  • Platnick, N. I. (1998): Advances in Spider Taxonomy 1992–1995, with Redescriptions 1940–1980. New York Entomological Society 976 pp.
  • Griswold, C. E., Coddington, J.A., Platnick, N.I. & Forster, R.R. (1999): Towards a Phylogeny of Entelegyne Spiders (Araneae, Araneomorphae, Entelegynae). Journal of Arachnology 27: 53–63. PDF Archived February 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  • Dimensions Of Biodiversity: Targeting Megadiverse Groups[permanent dead link] from: Cracraft, J. & Grifo, F.T. (eds.) (1999). The Living Planet In Crisis – Biodiversity Science and Policy. Columbia University Press.
  • Platnick, N.I. (2000): A Relimitation and Revision of the Australasian Ground Spider Family Lamponidae (Araneae: Gnaphosoidea). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 245: 1–330. Web versionAbstract, PDF
  • Platnick, N.I. (2020): Spiders of the World. A Natural History Edited by PlatnickPrinceton University Press

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Kumar, Mohi (October 25, 2005). "The exciting adventures of spider man". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Platnick, Norman I.; Raven, Robert J. (2013). "Spider Systematics: Past and Future". Zootaxa. 3683 (5): 595–600. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3683.5.8. PMID 25250473.
  3. ^ "International Society of Arachnology". Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Neson, Gareth; Platnick, Norman I. (1981). Systematics and Biogeography: Cladistics and Vicariance. New York: Columbia University Press.
  5. ^ "Planetary Biodiversity Inventory: The Spider Family Oonopidae". Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  6. ^ "NMBE – World Spider Catalog". Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  7. ^ de Busschere, Charlotte; Fannes, Wouter; Henrard, Arnaud; Gaublomme, Eva; Jocqué, Rudy; Baert, Léon (2014). "Unravelling the goblin spiders puzzle: rDNA phylogeny of the family Oonopidae (Araneae)" (PDF). Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Schwartz, John (April 17, 2020). "Norman Platnick, the 'Real Spider-Man,' Is Dead at 68". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Prendini, Lorenzo. "Dr Norman I. Platnick (1951–2020)" (PDF). American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  10. ^ Prendini, Lorenzo (2021). "Taxa dedicated to Norman I. Platnick". Entomologica Americana. 126 (1–4): 101–107. doi:10.1664/1947-5136-126.1.101. S2CID 231606678.

External links Edit