Sea spiders (Arthropoda, Pycnogonida) from ten recent research expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Scotia Arc and Weddell Sea - data

Latest version published by SCAR - AntOBIS on Sep 11, 2023 SCAR - AntOBIS
Publication date:
11 September 2023
Published by:
CC-BY 4.0

Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 1,330 records in English (72 KB) - Update frequency: unknown
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The dataset contains information on specimens of Southern Ocean Pycnogonida (Arthropoda), that were collected from 10 different research cruises, spanning 13 years. The individual aims and objectives of each cruise can be found in their cruise reports. The specimens have been collated into a single dataset, forming the basis of J Maxwell’s PhD. The dataset will be used to investigate the community structure of Antarctic pycnogonids and the factors which influence its composition.

This dataset is associated with the data paper "Sea spiders (Arthropoda, Pycnogonida) from ten recent research expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Scotia Arc and Weddell Sea - data” (Maxwell et al., 2022) It contains complementary data, additional details, and supplementary information that expand upon the research presented in the referenced data paper. Researchers can use this dataset to delve deeper into the findings and conduct further analyses.

This dataset is published by SCAR-AntOBIS under the license CC-BY 4.0. Please follow the guidelines from the SCAR Data Policy (SCAR, 2023) when using the data. Please contact us via the contact information provided in the metadata or via for any inquiry about this dataset. Issues with dataset can be reported at

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 1,330 records.

1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Occurrence (core)

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Maxwell J, Gan Y, Van de Putte A, Griffiths H (2023). Sea spiders (Arthropoda, Pycnogonida) from ten recent research expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Scotia Arc and Weddell Sea - data. Version 1.9. SCAR - AntOBIS. Occurrence dataset.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is SCAR - AntOBIS. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0) License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 1e7b6980-0842-4c4a-8b14-541b95d2ed3c.  SCAR - AntOBIS publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Ocean Biodiversity Information System.


Occurrence; Specimen; ARTHROPODS; OCEAN


Jamie Maxwell
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
National University of Ireland, Galway
Yi-Ming Gan
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Anton Van de Putte
  • Originator
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Huw Griffiths
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
British Antarctic Survey

Geographic Coverage

The samples were collected from different areas in the Southern Ocean, mainly the Weddell sea, South Orkney Islands, and the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

Bounding Coordinates South West [-77.358, -110.013], North East [-53.398, 2.881]

Taxonomic Coverage

Pycnogonida were identified to at least genus or species.

Kingdom Animalia, Chromista
Phylum Annelida, Arthropoda, Bryozoa, Echinodermata, Foraminifera, Mollusca, Platyhelminthes, Porifera
Class Gastropoda, Malacostraca, Pycnogonida, Thecostraca, Bivalvia, Crinoidea

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2007-12-22 / 2019-04-02

Project Data

Pycnogonida or sea spiders are a class of Arthropoda, that are found throughout the marine realm. They are an understudied group, with little known about their biology, distribution and evolutionary history. Using specimens from the Southern Ocean deep sea the project aims to resolve some of these unknowns by 1) examining compositional and distributional trends; 2) investigating genetic structure among populations of pycnogonids relating structure to distribution, depth and life history strategy; 3) determining how different species are related; 4) testing the theory that the Southern Ocean is where the world’s pycnogonids originally evolved.

Title Untangling the Sea Spider’s web: Investigating the Biogeography and Evolutionary History of Pycnogonida
Identifier GOIPG/2019/4020
Funding Funded by the Irish Research Council.

The personnel involved in the project:

Claudia Arango
Jana Dömel
  • Content Provider
Huw Griffiths
Louise Allcock

Sampling Methods

Sample Collection: The majority of the specimens were sampled using an Agassiz trawl (AGT) and an epibenthic sledge (EBS) with 165 AGT and 14 EBS deployments. The AGT had a mesh size of 1 cm and a mouth width of 2 m (except for JR17007 where the mouth was 1.25 m). AGTs were deployed to a depth of between 54 and 2279 m. The EBS had a suprabenthic- and an epibenthic net, both with a mesh size of 500 μm (cod-ends 300 μm). The epibenthic net extended from 27 cm to 60 cm above the bottom, with the suprabenthic net extending from 100 cm to 133 cm. The EBS was deployed as described by Brenke (2005) and was fitted with an open-closing mechanism so that the mouth of both nets were closed whenever the EBS was not in contact with the seafloor. EBSs were deployed to depths of between 436 and 5339 m. Both the AGT and EBS were deployed for approximately 10 minutes (trawling time) and at a speed of 1 knot. Pycnogonids were also recovered from Rauschert dredge (RD) deployments, once during PS118 and two occasions during both JR15005 and PS77. During PS118 and PS77 the RD mesh size was 1 mm, while a mesh of 500 μm was used on JR15005. The RD was deployed attached to the AGT with 5 metres of cable. Deployments were between 278.5 – 817 m. A bottom trawl was used during PS77, which was a 130ft trawl with a 10 mm herring codend. This was deployed 12 times at depths of between 223.5 and 486 m. The protocol for deployment of the BT was similar to that of the AGT but with slightly longer trawl times (approx 20 min). A single pycnogonid was recovered from a kelp raft that was recovered from the surface during JR15005.

Study Extent The pycnogonids in this study were collected during 10 research cruises, over 13 years, in the area between 110°W - 5°E, and 50°N - 78°S. The samples were collected from different areas in the Southern Ocean, mainly the Weddell sea, South Orkney Islands, and the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Sampling took place during 10 expeditions on the RRS James Clark Ross, RV Polarstern and RRS Discovery. In total 197 stations sampled contained at least one pycnogonid. Sampling took place between 2007 and 2019.
Quality Control - All records were validated. - Coordinates were plotted on map to verify the geographical location and locality. - All scientific names were checked for typo and matched to the species information backbone of Worlds Register of Marine Species ( and LSID were assigned to each taxa as scientificNameID. - Event date and time were converted into ISO 8601

Method step description:

  1. Sample Processing on deck: EBS – once gear was returned to deck, samples were sieved (300 μm) and/or transferred into precooled (-20°C) 96% ethanol, which were then stored at -20°C for at least 48 hours before further processing to avoid DNA degradation. After at least 48 hours samples were sorted to the lowest taxonomic level possible, counted and stored in 96% ethanol. AGT and BT – once on deck, samples were sorted to the lowest taxonomic level possible, counted, placed in precooled? 96% ethanol and stored at -20°C. All specimens recovered from the trawls during cruises on the RRS James Clark Ross were preserved in this way. It is not known if all specimens were kept on other cruises as sampling may have been selective. RD - The on deck protocol for the RD was the same as that for the EBS, unless specimens were large and immediately obvious, in which case these were separated straight away and transferred to percooled 96% ethanol and stored at -20°C. The kelp sample (Jr15005) was immediately sorted to the lowest taxonomic level possible, counted and stored in precooled 96% ethanol. Specimens remained in -20°C storage until returned to the UK. Once specimens were returned to British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge they were stored at ambient temperature.
  2. Treatment of samples: Every specimen was examined using a stereoscope and identified down to the lowest taxonomic rank possible, using the taxonomic keys and original descriptions (e.g. Hodgson, 1907, Gordon, 1938, 1944, Fry &Hedgpeth, Child 1994, 1995). The majority of samples (1019) were identified by J. Maxwell at the University of Ireland Galway, with additional 50 samples identified by J. Domel at both British Antarctic Survey and in Ruhr-Universität Bochum. The online portal World Registry of Marine Species (WoRMS) was used to confirm acceptance of species names and the online Biodiversity Heritage Library was used to source many of the original descriptions. Where identification was inconclusive only genus or family names were assigned. The nomenclature used for these specimens followed Horton, et al. (2021). To further aid in identification, tissue samples were sent to BOLD to be barcoded using COI-5P REGION of the cytochrome C oxidase subunit I gene. These will be made publicly available in the future but if not available at time of reading, they can be requested from the corresponding author. All the BAS samples are on long term loan to J Maxwell. All samples from DY099 are stored in the Natural History Museum London. The holotype of any new species discovered within the BAS samples will be sent to the NHM London.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Brenke, N., 2005. An epibenthic sledge for operations on marine soft bottom and bedrock. Marine Technology Society Journal, 39(2), 10-21.
  2. Hodgson, T.V., 1907. Pycnogonida. Nat. Hist. Reports Natl. Antarct. Exped. 1901-1904 3, 1–72.
  3. Gordon, I., 1938. Pycnogonida. Sci. reports Australas. Antarct. Exped. Zool. Bot. 2, 1–40.
  4. Gordon, I., 1944. Pycnogonida. B.A.N.Z.A.R.E. Reports, Ser. B 4, 1–72.
  5. Child, C.A., 1995a. Antarctic and Subantarctic Pycnogonida. III. The Family Nymphonidae. Antarct. Res. Ser. 69, 1–68.
  6. Child, C.A., 1995b. Antarctic and Subantarctic Pycnogonida. IV. The Families Colossendeidae and Rhynchotoraxidae. Antarct. Res. Ser. 69, 69–112.
  7. Child, C.A., 1995c. Antarctic and Subantarctic Pycnogonida. V. The Families Pycnogonidae, Phoxichilidiidae, Endeidae and Callipallenidae. Antarct. Res. Ser. 69, 113–165.
  8. Child, C.A., 1994a. Antarctic and Subantarctic Pycnogonida. I. The Family Ammotheidae. Antarct. Res. Ser. 63, 1–48.
  9. Child, C.A., 1994b. No TAntarctic and Subantarctic Pycnogonida. II. The Family Austrodecidae. Antarct. Res. Ser. 63, 49–99.
  10. Horton, T., Marsh, L., Bett, B.J., Gates, A.R., Jones, D.O., Benoist, N., Pfeifer, S., Simon-Lledó, E., Durden, J.M., Vandepitte, L. and Appeltans, W., 2021. Recommendations for the standardisation of open taxonomic nomenclature for image-based identifications. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, p.62.
  11. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. (2023). SCAR Report 42 - September 2022 - SCAR Data Policy (2022). Zenodo.
  12. Maxwell J, Gan YM, Arango C, Doemel JS, Allcock AL, van de Putte AP, Griffiths H (2022) Sea spiders (Arthropoda, Pycnogonida) from ten recent research expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Scotia Arc and Weddell Sea - data. Biodiversity Data Journal 10: e79353.

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 1e7b6980-0842-4c4a-8b14-541b95d2ed3c