- filtered for Italy (Mainland)
Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Oecobiidae (Starlegged Spiders)
Biology: The species in both Uroctea og Oecobius have a highly characteristic appearance and cannot be mistaken for any other European species.
Characters of family: Small to medium-sized spiders with six or eight eyes.
Genus: Oecobius Lucas, 1846
Characters of genus: Small spiders, mostly less than 3 mm, producing hackled band threads from a transverse oriented spinning organ in front of the spinnerets (cribellum). Carapace subcircular. Posterior eyes triangular or irregular in shape. Anal tubercle prominent, two-segmented and furnished with a fringe of long hairs. The spiders spins flat retreats with a diameter of a few cm with lateral openings from which signaling threads protrude. The threads detect prey that stumbles over these threads and if the spider is hungry it will rush out for the catch. Webs are built in crevices such as under rocks and floors, behind walls and in ceilings. There are 43 species in Oecobius of which 42 are known from Europe. However, only five species are known from the European mainland, four of which are confined to southern Europe. Thirty-six species are endemic for the Canary Islands and Madeira with most of those species being Canarian. Two species are cosmopolitan, O. cellariorum and O. navus. The latter is the only species occurring in central and northern Europe.
Oecobius cellariorum (Dugs, 1836)
Range: France (Mainland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Cosmopolitan (Platnick 10.0).
Oecobius maculatus Simon, 1870
Range: Austria, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Malta, Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean to Azerbaijan (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Oecobius navus Blackwall, 1859 - Urban Wall Spider
Description: Carapace is light coloured with blackish, irregular lines or markings along margins and dark markings in eye region. Legs pale, translucent, however with more or less pronounced dark annulations. Abdomen light grey and greyish brown with dark brown patches of varying sizes. Size: 2-3 mm. Maturity: All year? Habitat: In southern Europe under stones and in houses. North of the Alps only in houses. Range: Belgium (introduced), Estonia?, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany (introduced), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Portugal (Selvagens Islands), Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands) (introduced), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Cosmopolitan (Platnick 10.0).
Subadult male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Male.
Genus: Uroctea Dufour, 1820
Characters of genus: The species of Uroctea are found in Eurasia and Africa. Two species occur in southern Europe and one more is known from the Canary Islands. Uroctea species do not have a cribellum, but their web is very similar to the ones built by spiders of the cribellate Oecobius genus. The flat tent-like web is about 4 cm in diameter with six openings giving the tent a star-shaped appearance. The webs are built on the lower surface of stones and the spider sits upside down inside the tent thus serving as a retreat. From every opening two threads radiate to the surrounding, signalling vibrations of prey touching the threads. If hungry, the spider rushes out of the opening nearest to the prey and then tries to wrap they prey with silk. Uroctea has a habit of arranging the remains of the prey onto the lower part of the tent on the outer surface. Perhaps the force of gravity on the prey remains aids to give the tent a domed shape making the openings easier to pass through. The prey remains may alseo serve to camouflage the web.
Uroctea durandi (Latreille, 1809)
Description: Compact spider. Carapace dark brown, subcircular. Abdomen blackish with five yellow or white spots. Eyes in compact group. A thin blackish median band stretches back from the eyegroup to the centre of the carapace. The median band is flanked by another thin band in each side. Abdomen wide and widest at rear half. The blackish blue or black abdomen has two pairs of white or yellow spots. A fifth spot is present above the spinnerets. Size: 16 mm. Maturity: ? Habitat: Under stones. Range: Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Mainland), Great Britain (Mainland) (introduced), Greece (Crete), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Portugal (Mainland), Slovenia, Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Unfinished tent web but the characteristic star-shape with the six exits are discernible.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.