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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 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.
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Female.
Female.
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Male.
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Female abdominal markings.
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