How to use the keys

This tool offers a Javascript-based interactive matrix key built using Lucid3 software. Lucid3 is software for creating and using interactive identification keys. Lucid is developed by Identic in Brisbane, Australia. Visit the Lucidcentral website for more information on Lucid and Lucid3.

Any modern web browser can be used, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Javascript must be enabled.

An interactive matrix-key is quite different from a traditional dichotomous key. The user is recommended to consult Lucid Best Practices on occasion to pick up new tips and tricks for using the interactive key.

Screen Windows

A Lucid key has four panels.

  • The upper left window Features Available lists the identification features and feature states to choose from.
  • The upper right window Entities Remaining lists the available spider taxa.
  • The lower left window Features Chosen lists which feature states are currently selected.
  • The lower right window Entities Discarded lists the taxa that have been discarded based on the selected features.
  • Features Available

    In order to simplify the use of these keys for non-arachnologists, the features chosen for the keys are geared toward highly conspicous features that will easily separate out spider taxa that may be found in California Central Valley table grapes rather than using microscopic features that trained arachnologists would use. This may lead to some difficulties, particularly for the features based on color. Please consult the spider identification and key introduction pages before getting started to learn more.

    Navigating the Key

    Feature and entity trees can be expanded by clicking the “+” next to the grouping feature or entity. Feature states are selected by clicking once in the checkbox next to the state name. Clicking a second time deselects the state. As feature states are selected, the entities that do not have those features will be moved into the Entities Discarded panel.

    All entities and most feature states are illustrated with drawings and/or photographs. Clicking on the image thumbnail (or image icon if thumbnails are not displayed) brings up a larger size image and gives you access to the full image gallery for the feature state or entity, if available. Entities are also linked to web pages containing fact sheets for the taxon. Clicking the small grey page icon next to the entity or feature will open the fact sheet in a new browser window or tab, depending on your browser settings.

    Lucid screen shot

    In the key itself, common language terms are used to help support use of the key by inexperienced individuals. However, in order to maximize their value and validity, some specialized arachnological terminology appears in the fact sheets. A glossary with links from the fact sheets is provided to assist the user in understanding such terms.

    Multiple states of a feature may be selected. However, for these keys, if you're unsure of the correct state, it is often better to try a different feature before selecting a state you are unsure about or selecting multiple states. For more hints on navigating the key, see the Best Practices page.