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Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Hahniidae (Lesser Cobweb Spiders)
Biology: This is a fairly small, clearly defined family due to the peculiar arrangement of the spinners in a transverse row. The family is represented with ca. 235 species in 26 genera. They are found in most parts of the world but are missing in some arctic areas as well as being unrecorded from some smaller islands and archipelagos. The members of Hahniidae are small to medium sized spiders ranging from 1.3-6 mm body size. They are usually found close to the ground where they construct small sheet webs in low vegetation, amongst stones, and moss or across small depressions on the ground. The spider hunts on the upper side of the sheet and apparently uses no retreat.
Characters of family: The members of Hahniidae belong to the group of entelegyne ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The eyes are equal-sized and arranged in 2 rows of 4 with both eye rows slightly procurved. The most important character for this family is the transversely arranged row of spinners being clearly visible with a lens. The outermost (posterior) pair of spinners is long and two-segmented. The carapace is longer than wide and narrowed in head region. Sometimes there are indistinct striae radiating from the short fovea and in front of this the head region often shows reticulations. The carapace is very glossy in many species due to lack of hairs except for some forward directed ones in the midline of the head region. Lateral side of chelicerae with stridulating ridges, these are more strongly developed in males. The labium is wider than long. The legs are short but nevertheless they are fast runners. There are few spines and the trichobothria are arranged in a row as in the Agelenidae in which family some genera of Hahniidae used to belong. The female palp is furnished with a claw, which is usually toothless. The abdomen is oval and often uniformly coloured in shades of brown with some lighter coloured species having clear chevrons while these are being more indistinct in darker species. The tracheal spiracle is situated one-third to halfway from the spinners to the epigastric fold. The epigyne is flat and small. Often curved ducts and spermathecae are visible and the overall impression is rather characteristic for the family despite great variation in the shape of epigynes between species. The male palp is furnished with both a patellar and a tibial apophysis and the shape of both are important characters when identifying species under the stereomicroscope.
Genus: Hahnia C. L. Koch, 1841
Characters of genus: The carapace is longer than broad. Eyes close together with anterior medials smaller than anterior laterals. Trapezium formed by medial eyes widest behind. Lateral sides of chelicerae are straight. Tip of sternum not truncated between coxa IV. The tracheal spiracle is situated about two-fifth of distance from the spinners to the epigastric fold. The six spinners are in a transverse row. The lateral spinners are clearly longer than the rest, and the distal segment of lateral spinners is just half as long as proximal. There is no colulus.
Hahnia hauseri Brignoli, 1978
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Balearic Is (Platnick 10.0).
Hahnia nava (Blackwall, 1841)
Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).