Dr Robert Raven

With a wide knowledge of invertebrate groups, including earthworms and snails, as well as some frogs, Robert heads the most active arachnological unit in Australia. In 2010, they celebrate that since 1976, staff and honorary associates have decribed over 1000 new species of spiders.

Robert first studied spiders to manage his fear of them. Soon after that, when he tried to study the behaviour and ecology of spiders around Brisbane, he discovered that very little was known about their names. Some were new species so he started working on their taxonomy, naming them.

He is now:

  • Head, Terrestrial Biodiversity & Senior Curator, Chelicerata
  • Chairman, Animal Ethics Committee, Queensland Museum

He has described over 300 new spider species from Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Mexico, India, south-east Asia, New Guinea.

Historical Snapshot

  • Queensland Museum, 1974-1982
  • Ph. D. University of Queensland 1981
  • CSIRO Postdoctoral fellowship, American Museum of Natural History, New York 1983, Canberra 1984
  • Queensland Museum, Curator, 1985-present

External Positions

  • Founder, Australasian Arachnological Society
  • Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History, New York
  • Chairman, World Spider Catalog Committee, International Society of Arachnology
  • Editor, Infraorder Mygalomorphae, Zootaxa
  • Spider Bite Consultant, Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane

Current research interests in taxonomy

  • Australian Tarantulas (Theraphosidae)
  • Racing Stripe Spiders (family Miturgidae)
  • Ant-mimicking spiders (family Corinnidae)
  • Swift ground spiders (Family Zoridae)
  • Water Spiders (family Pisauridae)
  • Brush-footed Trapdoor spiders (family Barychelidae)
  • Tree trapdoor spiders (family Migidae)
  • Trapdoor spiders (families Ctenizidae, Idiopidae & Nemesiidae)
  • Curtainweb Spiders (family Dipluridae)
  • Ground-hunting spiders (superfamily Lycosoidea, Clubionoidea)

Total new Taxa described

  • Families restored or elevated: Nemesiidae, Cyrtaucheniidae, Hexathelidae, Idiopidae.
  • New genera: 42
  • New species: 351

Current collaborations

  • Dr Manju Siliwal, India

Current projects

  • Spider Catalog of the World, updating database on American Museum of Natural History, New York
  • Taxonomic Source for Spider Venom database
  • Taxonomy of Australian Theraphosidae.




Head, Terrrstrial Biodiversity, & Principal Curator, Chelicerata, Biodiversity Program

Chairman, Animal Ethics Committee, Queensland Museum


Ph. D. University of Queensland 1981

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