The first question is one I get asked often and my standard answer to this “I don’t know”. It depends very much on how you define “discovery”. Is it the moment someone sees a spider that is later identified as new ? Is it the moment someone catches it ? Is it the moment perhaps someone recognises that it is in fact a new species ? Or the moment somebody names it ? And how about if a group of people is involved ? Is the discoverer the one who saw it first or is everyone in that group discoverer ? I could go on here with more examples. But you see already that the moment of discovery and the person who discovered something can be defined differently and hence the number of species someone discovered will change accordingly. Perhaps I discovered 20, perhaps more, perhaps less. To be honest, it is something I don’t care very little about and I always wish journalist would not ask me that difficult question. They never like my answer anyway.
How many species I named is something I can answer much more precisely: together with David Hill I named exactly 47, out of the 78 species that are named today. If you are interested here is a list of people who named peacock spiders and the number of species they named. The names of those who named a new spider or any other organism for that matter becomes part of the species name itself, and will forever be attached to that species name. For example, Maratus albus is officially called Maratus albus Otto & Hill. By contrast, the names of those who discovered an animal, as important and exciting this discovery may have been, will likely be forgotten. Who discovered the kangaroo, koala, echidna or emu ?
Authors and number of peacock spiders they named
Julianne Waldock: 9
Barbara Baehr & Robert Whyte: 6
Joseph Schubert & Robert Whyte: 1
Joseph Schubert: 4
Eugène Louis Simon: 3
Oktavius Pickard-Cambridge: 2
Robert Dunn: 1
Eugen von Keyserling: 1
William Joseph Rainbow: 1
Ferdinand Karsch: 2
Jurgen Otto & David Hill: 47
Marek Zabka: 1