Making use of the recent publication of a catalogue of spider species from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, we built a computer database which indexes all specific and subspecific taxa reported from countries or islands in Platnick's world catalogue as well as in regional or national catalogues. We used this database to analyze the distribution of conservation values at the West Palearctic scale. Three indices of conservation value were calculated and compared between mainland and island territories: species richness, number of endemic species, and Ic, a “Conservation Value Index.” Species richness increases with the size of the area being considered, either in islands or in mainland countries, and is highest in Southern Europe. The number of endemics also increases with area, but only for mainland countries, suggesting that different factors determine endemism on islands and in mainland areas. The conservation index shows that several island territories are of a high conservation interest: the Mediterranean and Atlantic islands clearly exhibit the highest conservation value and some islands (mainly Canary and Balearic islands) can be considered hotspots of biodiversity for the West Palearctic area; other hotspots are some small Mediterranean islands.
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