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Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Gnaphosidae (Ground Spiders)
Biology: The Gnaphosidae is the seventh largest spider family of the world encompassing ca. 2000 species in 8 subfamilies and 114 genera. They range in size from small to large (2-18 mm body size). The species are free-living found mailnly at ground level in open habitats but some species are house spiders, for example Scotophaeus blackwalli in the northern parts of its distributional range. They build a tubular retreat, from which they leave at night to hunt prey. The female guard her papery egg sack hidden in small holes under logs, stones, etc. Most species are active at night, however spiders of the somewhat atypical genus Micaria are diurnal hunters running rapidly about in bright sunshine.
Characters of family: The gnaphosids are rather stout ecribellate spiders with a flattened and elongate abdomen. The carapace is ovoid and rather low being smoothly convex and with a distinct fovea in most species. The head is not sharply set off from the thoracic region. Gnaphosids are fairly easily recognized by their cylindrical and parallel spinners, the anterior pair being slightly longer, and more heavily sclerotized than the posterior pair. The anterior spinners are separated from each other by approximately one spinner diameter with some exceptions, e.g. Micaria in which genus anterior spinners are closer. They have 8 eyes in 2 rows. The posterior medial eyes are often not round, but oval, triangular or reduced to slits. All eyes are with a silvery sheen except for the anterior medials, which are dark. The sternum is ovoid, pointed posteriorly. The chelicerae are robust, and the fang furrows are provided with teeth. The retromargin may have a sclerotized lamina (flat, keel-like plate) in place of teeth. This lamina is serrated in some genera. The curvature of the posterior row of eyes and the position and shape of cheliceral lamina and teeth are important characters when keying gnaphosids to genus level under the stereomicroscope. The endites usually have an oblique or transverse depression. They are provided with a serrula (row or cluster of tiny teeth on the front margin). Gnaphosids are also characterized by having 2 tarsal claws, claw tufts, and scopulae. Legs are stout and in some species there are small brushes of more and less stiff hairs present distally on metatarsus IV. Female palp is furnished with small spines and a finely toothed claw. The abdomen is often provided with dense coverage of short sleek hairs giving the abdomen a mousy-like appearance. Sometimes erect, curved setae are present, particularly at the anterior edge (see for example images of Gnaphosa lucifuga). Many species are uniformly coloured in greyish-brown or blackish colours. However, abdomens of some species have striking white patterns of spots or lines while abdomens of others are iridescent. Most males have a scutum at the anterior end. The spiracle is situated close to the spinners. Gnaphosids are entelegyne spiders often having rather large epigynes with sclerotized structures. They are somewhat variable and closely related species may be difficult to identify. Male palps are usually provided with a large tibial apophysis and the shape of this is important when identifying the species.
Genus: Aphantaulax Simon, 1878
Aphantaulax trifasciata (O. P.-Cambridge, 1872)
Range: Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Subadult female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Drassodes Westring, 1851
Characters of genus: The abdomen has dense short hairs making the spiders appear mousy. These spiders are mostly reddish-brown to greyish-brown, and resemble spiders from the Clubionidae. However, the spinners are tubular as characteristic of the Gnaphosidae. The members of the genus are distinguished from other gnaphosids by the deeply notched trochanters. The posterior medial eyes are oval. Males have no scutum.
Drassodes parvicorpus Roewer, 1951
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands)? (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mallorca (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Gnaphosa Latreille, 1804
Characters of genus: Most species with dark brown cephalothorax. The abdomes is either dark brown, greyish-black or black, thickly covered with grey hairs. The genus is characterized by having the posterior row of eyes recurved.
Gnaphosa balearicola Strand, 1942
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Gnaphosa zeugitana Pavesi, 1880
Range: Croatia, Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: North Africa (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Haplodrassus Chamberlin, 1922
Characters of genus: Carapace elongate and fairly low. The brownish cephalothorax have complex black lines. Head much wider than both row of eyes. The posterior medial eyes are larger than the laterals as well as oval and oblique. Posterior row of eyes has the medials closer to each other than to the laterals. Anterior row of eyes straight or slightly recurved while posterior row is procurved. The distance between the outer edges of anterior medial eyes is about the same as the distance between outer edges of posterior medials. Clypeus low about equal to the distance of one anterior medial eye. Fovea short as in the Clubionidae. Chelicerae strong with lateral condyles. Chelicerae with teeht both on promargin and retromargin. Labium longer than wide and angulate where sides meets posterior border.Sternum does not extend between coxae IV. Trochanters smooth. The distal end of metatarsi III and IV is not furnished with a preening comb. Males do not have a scutum. Some species have vague patterns of chevrons on the abdomen, but these patterns are not reliable in separating the species since the variation within species is considerable. Male palp with a tibial apophysis, the shape of which is important for identification. Sometimes the shape is discernible with a lens allowing for identification in the field. The epigyne is often large and females of some species are also identifiable in the field using a lens.
Haplodrassus dalmatensis (L. Koch, 1866)
Range: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Portugal (Selvagens Islands), Romania, Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Haplodrassus severus (C. L. Koch, 1839)
Range: France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Malta, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovakia?, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Micaria Westring, 1851
Characters of genus: This genus has previously been assigned to the Clubionidae by some workers. A depression across the endites and the often oval posterior medial eyes has resulted in its present status as a gnaphosid genus. Tne cephalothorax and abdomen is covered with flattened dark scales, usually iridecent and sometimes with contrasting white spots or stripes. Slim, antlike spiders running rapidly over the ground in dry and warm places.
Micaria formicaria (Sundevall, 1831)
Range: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia?, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Nomisia Dalmas, 1921
Nomisia exornata (C. L. Koch, 1839)
Range: Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Malta, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovakia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Central Asia (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Scotophaeus Simon, 1893
Characters of genus: This genus has three species in Northern Europe of which two occur in Denmark. The abdomen is without a pattern and appear greasy silverish-grey due to the short, dense grey hairs. The males have a conspicious brown abdominal scutum, but is small and therefore not clearly visible for the commonest species of the genus, S. blackwalli. The posterior medial eyes are circular and slightly closer to another than to the laterals. Height of clypeus about the same as the diameter of an anterior medial eye. In Northern Europe the species are found exclusively within houses where they wander about at nighttime.
Scotophaeus validus (Lucas, 1846)
Range: France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Romania, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Southern Europe, Morocco, Algeria (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Setaphis Simon, 1893
Setaphis carmeli (O. P.-Cambridge, 1872)
Range: Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean (Platnick 10.0).
Setaphis parvula (Lucas, 1846)
Range: France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Mainland), Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Western Mediterranean (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Trachyzelotes Lohmander, 1944
Trachyzelotes barbatus (L. Koch, 1866)
Range: Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sicily), Malta, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Southern European), Slovenia?, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean to Central Asia, USA (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Zelotes Gistel, 1848
Characters of genus: Brownish-black to black spiders without markings. Resemble dark species of Drassyllus. Posterior medial eyes are of about the the same size as the laterals. Posterior eyerow is straight, rarely procurved and eyes equidistant. The eye rows are short due to a narrow head region, the width of an eyerow less than one third of the width of the carapace at its widest point. The carapace is usually shiny and shinier than the abdomen. Some species of the genus have been moved to other genera probably because it used to be species rich with more than fifty species known from France. Several species are almost identical and needs microscopic examination of the genitialia to be separated with certainity. Some species may in some cases be identified by the markings on the legs.
Zelotes flagellans (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Zelotes fulvopilosus (Simon, 1878)
Range: Andorra, France (Mainland), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Spain, France, Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Zelotes longipes (L. Koch, 1866)
Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Portugal (Selvagens Islands), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Eggsack.
Zelotes plumiger (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Zelotes semirufus (L. Koch, 1882)
Range: Italy (Mainland), Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Minorca, Italy (Platnick 10.0).