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Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Sparassidae (Giant Crab Spiders)
Biology: Sparassidae is a mainly tropical family, with the majority of species found in south east Asia and Australia. Micrommata virescens is the only species occurring naturally in Northern and Central Europa, including Denmark. Tychicus longipes is introduced to the Netherlands from the island of Ambon, Indonesia.
Characters of family: They are characterised by flattened bodies and long legs which are more and less at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the spiders, making the spiders rather crab-like in appearance.
Genus: Micrommata Latreille, 1804
Characters of genus: The species of the genus have an unmistakable appearance. The carapace is longer than broad and narrowed in the head region. The abdomen is elongate. The anterior row of eyes is recurved while the posterior row is straight or slightly procurved. The labium is small and semicircular. The lenght of legs IV are the longest, but are just slighly longer than legs I - III. They are not active hunters, but wait in the vegetation for prey to pass by and to be grabbed. The scopulae of tarsi and metatarsi are well developed, and provide excellent adherence to slippery substrates.
Micrommata virescens (Clerck, 1757) - Green Huntsman
Description: A rather large species with very distinct colouration making it impossible to confuse it with any other species in the region. The black eyes are ringed with white hairs. The carapace and legs are green in both males and females, and covered with white silky hairs. Tibia IV with one one dorsal spine which separates the species from M. ligurina which have two dorsal spines. Females and juveniles of both sexes have bright emerald green abdomens with a yellow median band which for the most part is filled with a green cardiac mark. Just before wintering, the young male moults into a light yellow colourform with indistinct longitudinal scarlet bands and spots on the abdomen. The male winter as subadult. The final moult takes place in May whereby the abdomen becomes shiny yellow decorated with three longtidinal vivid scarlet bands. Spiderlings are yellow with reddish spots, and resemble juvenile males somewhat. Adults are much less frequently encountered than immatures, especially males that have a very short season. Size: Female 12-15 mm; male 8-10 mm. Maturity: Males have a very short period in May and June, females from May to August. Habitat: Oak forests, often with undergrowth of blueberry and heather. Also on low vegetation in damp forest clearings, forest edges and moors. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegowina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, 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, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Subadult male.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Olios Walckenaer, 1837
Olios argelasius (Walckenaer, 1805)
Range: Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sicily), Portugal (Mainland), Slovenia?, Spain (Mainland), Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean (Platnick 10.0).
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.