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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: Lycosoides Lucas, 1846
Lycosoides coarctata (Dufour, 1831)
Range: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Malta, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Slovenia?, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Palp and epigyne.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Malthonica Simon, 1898
Malthonica balearica Brignoli, 1978
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Malthonica pagana (C. L. Koch, 1840)
Range: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Netherlands, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Portugal (Selvagens Islands), Romania, Slovenia?, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Central Asia, USA to Chile, New Zealand (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male palp.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
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 fuesslini Pavesi, 1873
Range: France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe (Platnick 10.0).
Tegenaria herculea Fage, 1931
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Spain (Platnick 10.0).
Tegenaria parietina (Fourcroy, 1785)
Description: Carapace dark brown with wide, light-coloured central and lateral bands. Margin with three dark-brown patches in each side. Older specimens may have less contrast between light and dark areas and sometimes even appear uniform grey partly due to dense clothing with light hairs. Sternum with three equal-sized patches opposite coxa I, II, and III, and with light median band, however these markings are usually absent in older specimens. This is a long-legged species with the length of legs almost five-times the body lenght in males, much less so in females. Legs light yellow-brown with darker annulations especially on the femora. Legs of older individuals often uniform brown. Abdomen with yellow-brown central band flanked by fairly large light pathes, and some smaller, dark ones. Sides of abdomen with smaller spots in the same colours. Abdomen of older specimens is lighter, sometimes uniform light brown with long, relatively thin hairs. Size: Female 11-20 mm; male 11-17 mm. Maturity: Males from late summer to spring, females all year. Habitat: Outsides of usually old buildings, and more rarely inside houses. In central and southern Europe also cracks in rock walls. Range: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark (introduced), France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe, North Africa to Central Asia, Uruguay, Argentina (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Juvenile.
Sternum of juvenile.
Male.
Male.
Female, close-up of abdomen.
Female guarding egg sack.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Tegenaria scopifera Barrientos, Ribera & Pons, 2002
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Textrix Sundevall, 1833
Characters of genus: The members of this genus have the posterior row of eyes strongly recurved with the medials larger than the laterals. The narrow head is clearly set off from the thorax. The species may resemble wolf spiders as they are sometimes seen running about in sunshine, but the long and segmented posterior spinners are very noticeable and give them away as funnel web weavers. There are two species in northern and central Europe, of which one occur in Denmark.
Textrix caudata L. Koch, 1872
Range: Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Hungary?, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean, introduced in Central Europe (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Palp.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.