Svalbard. Pictographic. Invertebrate. Database and. Educational. Resource.

Welcome to S.P.I.D.E.R.

(Svalbard Pictographic Invertebrate Database and Educational Resource)

Here you will find an information source concerning the terrestrial and freshwater invertebrate fauna of Svalbard. What is an 'invertebrate'? Invertebrate is a general term for all animals without backbones, for example, insects, spiders and worms.

There are some 1,100 species of invertebrate recorded from the archipelago including 230 species of insect and 19 species of spider but they are often hard to observe. The aim of this webpage is to provide information about this group of animals, for example, what is here? How did it get here, and how does it survive here?

Some facts about insects

95% of animal species are invertebrates. Approximately 1 million species of invertebrate have been named yet "only" 40,000 are vertebrates.

There are around 925,000 species of insect known in the world.

40,000 species of mite have been named.

38% of all insect species are beetles.

Over 225 million years old.  Two staphylinid beetles occur on Svalbard.  This family of beetle evolved 225 million years ago or, put another way, 160 million years before Tyranosaurus rex died out.

Main groups of invertebrates on Svalbard

There are over 1,100 species of terrestrial or freshwater invertebrate known from Svalbard. And this is only a start. The true number is likely to be greater as only the fauna of the west coast, primarily from Isfjord and Kongsfjord, has been studied in any degree of detail. However, since most invertebrates are small and often require specialised equipment to collect and observe it is easy to overlook this diversity.

The S.P.I.D.E.R. project

Steve Coulson
Steve Coulson

This is an ongoing project and the site will be continually developed. It is hoped this pages will be of interest to both locals and visiters to Svalbard.

Project Manager Steve Coulson is working at the Swedish Species Information Centre (ArtDatabanken) at the Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU) as a project manager for Artportalen (Swedish Species Observation System, and can be contacted at