Araniella villanii: a web spider with a wide distribution range from southeastern and northeastern Iran to eastern Kazakhstan and northern India. The species was named after the French mathematician and spider enthusiast Cédric Villani. Photo: Anatoliy Ozernoy

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Iran is known for its diverse range of flora and fauna, yet the country's invertebrate wildlife has not been extensively studied. To address this gap in knowledge, MSc Alireza Zamani conducted a comprehensive survey of spiders in Iran, analyzing over 9,000 specimens collected from various habitats across the country. Zamani's doctoral research resulted in the discovery of 147 new spider species, as well as 11 new spider genera. The findings reveal the incredible diversity of spider life in Iran, where the known number of spider species now stands at 935.

Despite the large number of spider species already known to exist worldwide, their diversity and regional distribution are still poorly understood, especially in regions that have been relatively understudied. Iran is one such area, and Zamani's research has provided important new insights into the country's spider fauna. The discovery of so many new spider species underscores the importance of continued research and conservation efforts to protect these fascinating creatures.

Zamani's research also revealed that spider populations in Iran are not evenly distributed, with many regions lacking spider sightings altogether. The distribution of spider species was found to be uneven, with most of the recorded sightings concentrated near large urban centers. To gain a better understanding of spider diversity in Iran, future collection efforts should focus on systematic surveys of underexplored areas using randomized sampling techniques.

The importance of spider conservation cannot be overstated, especially given their essential role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Spiders play a crucial role in controlling insect populations, thereby helping to preserve plant and animal species that would otherwise be threatened by excessive insect predation. As we continue to learn more about the diversity and distribution of spider species in Iran and around the world, we can identify critical conservation areas and develop effective conservation strategies to protect these remarkable creatures for future generations.

HT

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