- filtered for Lithuania
Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Agelenidae (Funnelweb Weavers)
Biology: This is a fairly small family, which is represented with a little more than 500 species in 41 genera. They range in size from medium to large (4.5 to at least 20 mm body size). Most species are living on sheet webs with a funnel or tubular retreat where the spider sits ready. When prey land on the web the spider rush out over it always in an upright position and grab the prey, which is then dragged back to the retreat for consumption. The web is usually built in low vegetation and bushes but some species inhabit the hollows of tree trunks, caves, and houses. Some indoor species are now almost cosmopolitan in distribution.
Characters of family: The agelenids belong to the group of entelegyne, ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The members of the family are characterized by the often very long, two-segmented posterior spinnerets, which taper toward the tip. The long spinners are visible even when the spiders are viewed from above. Another character for the family is the tarsal trichobothria, which are arranged, in a single row and increases in length toward the distal end. However, this character is shared with species that have been transferred to other genera in recent times. The carapace is characterized by often having the head (cephalic region) narrow and very clearly separated from the wider thoracic region. The eyes are equal sized and arranged in 2 rows of 4. The curvature of the posterior row of eyes is characteristic for some of the commoner European genera with some having this eye row recurved, straight or procurved. Sternum is heart-shaped and sometimes with markings which may aid species identification. Labium is as wide as long. Many species have long slender spinose legs and are capable of fast runs. The abdomen is oval and tapering posteriorly usually with species-specific colour patterns dorsally in various shades of brown and grey. Both the carapace and the abdomen are often densely covered by plumose hairs but this is only visible when using a lens or stereomicroscope. Epigyne is often large but the differences between related species sometimes small and a stereomicroscope is therefore required for proper identification. The male palp has a tibial apophysis. The shape of the apophysis is sometimes visible with a lens facilitating reliable identification of live males. In this respect it is an advantage to confine the specimen in a glass tube.
Genus: Agelena Walckenaer, 1805
Biology: The species make large, densely woven sheet webs with a funnel retreat in low vegetation and bushes. Areal strands above the sheet impede the flight of insects and cause them to fall upon the sheet. The spider sits in the funnel ready to rush out and capture prey. However, if large animals cast their shadow on the web or tramble nearby the spider makes a swift escape further down the retreat, and will stay out of sight for a while.
Characters of genus: In Agelena the posterior row of eyes is strongly procurved.
Agelena labyrinthica (Clerck, 1757) - Labyrinth Spider
Description: Female carapace dark reddish-brown with light greyish-brown pubescense forming median and lateral bands. Abdomen greyish-black dorsally with yellow-brown median band. Anteriorly, this band is flanked by pale spots, but further back the spots combine to form transverse sinuous bars. Sides of abdomen coloured as the median band. Legs reddish-brown but at most places covered by light greyish-brown pubescence. Size: Female 10-14 mm; male 8-12 mm. Maturity: July and August. Habitat: Warm, dry places with low vegetation or bushes. In Denmark, this species is primarly found near the coasts, such as coastal grassland and dunes, but also sometimes at grassland, forests clearings and edges away from the coast. In countries to the south of Denmark this species is also found in damper habitats such as meadows with little grazing. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female spinners.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Tegenaria Latreille, 1804
Biology: The best known members of this family are the well-known house spiders of the genus Tegenaria. These large, common spiders make often extensive, dusty webs in the corners of little used rooms of cellars, sheds etc.
Characters of genus: Head prominent, protruding. Thoracic part of carapace oval. Posterior row of eyes slightly procurved with the medials marginally smaller than laterals. Trapezium formed by medial eyes widest behind. Clypeus higher than twice the diameter of an anterior medial eye. Chelicerae strong with distinct lateral condyles. Labium longer than broad. Carapace and legs with coverage of plumose hairs, however only discernible as plumose at high magnification. Tibia and patella of legs I less than 1.5 times the length of the carapace. Abdomen oval, rather elongate with dense hairing usually with markings consisting of paired spots or chevrons. Posterior spinners long, more than twice the length of anteriors and widely separated. Males with similar markings as the females but slimmer and with relatively longer legs. Many species have characteristic markings on the sternum which may aid species identification. Members of Tegenaria possess a thick and short embolus originating from subapical part of the embolus (Guseinov et al. 2005). Formerly, the genus also included species with long, filamentous embolus originating basally or subbasally, but these species have been transferred to Malthonica (Guseinov et al. 2005).
Tegenaria agrestis (Walckenaer, 1802) - Hobo Spider
Description: Carapace brown with indistinct yellow-brown median and lateral bands composed of ligth hairs. Head region is clothed less densely and appear darker. Abdomen dark grey mottled with light hairs. In the median line there is a row of triangular or arrow-shaped markings, which usually are distinct and characteristic for the the species. Legs uniform brown. Sternum with wide median light marking which narrows posteriorly. Lateral dots on sternum indistinct. The species produce characteristics eggsacks. The disc shaped sac is sorrounded by a layer of small stones and sand alternatively mineral soil depending on availability at habitat and has an outer layer of silk. The eggsacks with sand and stones are remarkably heavy. Size: Female 10-12 mm; male 9-10 mm. Maturity: Males July to October, females all year? Habitat: The species occur at two different habitats, forests and waste ground (or similar places with low vegetation). The species co-occur with another Tegenaria species (Tegenaria atrica) at both habitat types. Range: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Central Asia, USA, Canada (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Egg sacks from two different females - a single sac and a group of three spun together by a few light strands..
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male abdominal markings.
Male.
Male.
Tegenaria atrica C. L. Koch, 1843
Description: Carapace dark greyish-brown with irregular light median and lateral bands. Legs dark greyish-brown. Abdomen light brown, mottled with greyish-black hairs. Paired light spots are present in the median line. Posteriorly, the spots combine to form chevrons. Sternum dark with wide median band which narrows posteriorly. The band is flanked by three light spots at each side. Male similar to female, but with relatively longer legs. Size: Female 12-18 mm; male 10-15 mm. Maturity: Males July to October, females all year. Habitat: Unheated houses, under debris, in the hollows of trees, and under larger stones and rocks, particurlarly in woods. Males often stray into houses during autumn in search of females. Sometimes they get caught in tubs or other containers with slippery surfaces. Due to their size and hairyness, they often cause fright among arachnofobian people. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Faroe Islands (introduced), Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovakia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe, introduced in North America (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Tegenaria domestica (Clerck, 1757) - Barn funnel weaver
Description: Male and female with similar in general appearance. Carapace greyish-brown with wide irregular bands in median line and sides. Abdomen light yellowish-brown with light grey indistinct markings forming vague chevrons at rear. The whole spider is clothed with long hairs, particurlarly the head region and the abdomen. Legs with faint annulations. Sternum dark with a narrow light median band flanked by three pairs of rather indistinct spots. Size: Female 8-11 mm; male 6-9 mm. Maturity: All year. Habitat: Mainly indoors in heated houses in northern Europe. The species is also found outdoors to the south of this region in brick rubbish, under stones etc. Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands (introduced), Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (Novaya Zemlya), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Canary Islands) (introduced), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Cosmopolitan (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male abdominal markings.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.