- only species with images listed
Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Tetragnathidae (Long-jawed Orb Weavers)
Biology: The Tetragnathidae is the tenth largest spider family of the world encompassing almost 1000 species in 4 subfamilies and 51 genera. They range in size from small to large (2-23 mm body size). Many species build delicate sometimes more or less horizontal orb webs with an open hub and few, wide-set radii and spirals. The webs have no signal line and no retreat and are often found in vegetation near water. The spiders often sit in the centre of the web. If disturbed they drop to the ground or cling to the vegetation adopting a stretch position with the long legs stretched out rendering themselves inconspicuous. It should be noted that only immatures of the shorter-legged Pachygnatha genus build orb webs. Adults of this genus are free-living hunters seeking their prey in the vegetation or at ground level. The long and divergent chelicerae of many species are used to hold the female during mating. The egg sacks are placed on the ground, behind bark or fastened in the vegetation. Some species camouflage the egg sack so it looks like mould or a bird dropping (for example species of Tetragnatha). The egg sack is often guarded by the female who takes residence near the egg sack adopting the stretch position to camouflage herself against the background.
Characters of family: The tetragnathids belong to the group of ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. Many members of the family are usually elongated spiders characterized by the often very long legs and chelicerae (subfamilies Tetragnathinae and Leucauginae). However there are some genera with oval abdomens or normal sized chelicerae (subfamily Metinae). Males are usually smaller and slimmer than females who often have the base of the abdomen swollen. Males often have relatively longer chelicerae than females and sometimes they are even longer than the carapace. The male chelicerae are also often furnished with spurs on their chelicerae, which are used to lock the female chelicerae during mating. The female palp is provided with a well-developed, toothed claw. The eyes are not unlike those of the araneids. They are subequal and arranged in 2 rows of 4 usually equidistant or with the medial eyes closer to each other than to the lateral eyes. The lateral eyes are either spaced apart or contiguous, sometimes situated on a tubercle. The primary eyes are always black. The secondary eyes of most genera are provided with a light-reflecting layer (tapetum) aiding nocturnal vision. However, tapetum is missing in a few genera such as Tetragnatha having all eyes black. The carapace is elongate and with short, shallow fovea (indistinct in Tetragnatha). The sternum is longer than wide and pointed at rear, sometimes protruding in between coxae IV. Narrow, horizontal sclerites are sometimes present between coxae and carapace. Endites are parallel and may either converge or dilate in front of the rebordered labium. The legs are long and slender and mostly with spines but in some genera there are none (for example Pachygnathy). The trichobothria are often branched. They are sometimes arranged in rows. The shape of the abdomen is variable sometimes round or oval but mostly elongate. Colours vary, quite often with bright white, green, red and yellow colours often with coppery or silvery blotches. Tetragnathids are entelegyne or secondary haplogyne (without epigyne). Sometimes the genital plate is not sclerotized (subfamily Tetragnathinae) and thus adult females may be difficult to separate from subadults and juveniles since there is no epigyne - just a hairy, tongue-shaped plate projecting posteriorly from the epigastric fold. The male palp is simple and often very similar within genera.
Taxonomic note: The genus Nephila (golden silk orb-weavers) has been separated into its own family, Nephilidae.
This family is represented in Europe with 46 species in 5 genera (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009). European genera (number of species in parenthesis): Meta (8), Metellina (4), Pachygnatha (9), Sancus (1), Tetragnatha (24).
Genus: Meta C. L. Koch, 1836
There are 8 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Meta barreti, M. bourneti, M. menardi, M. milleri, M. minima, M. nigra, M. obscura, M. stridulans.
Meta menardi (Latreille, 1804)
Range: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegowina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Korea (Platnick 10.0).
Female epigyne and multiple strands from spinners.
Male cephalothorax.
Male palp.
Male abdominal markings.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female cephalothorax.
Male.
Female cleaning legs with mouthparts.
Female head.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female, tibia I.
Meta minima Denis, 1953
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Juvenile, abdominal markings.
Male.
Male, markings of head.
Male, abdominal markings.
Juvenile.
Meta stridulans Wunderlich, 1987
Range: Portugal (Madeira) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Madeira (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Subadult male.
Male exuvium.
Subadult male, stridulation ridges on the chelicer.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Male exuvium.
Genus: Metellina Chamberlin & Ivie, 1941
Characters of genus: Very closely related to the Meta genus. The differences between the genera Metellina and Meta are not visible with a lens. Anterior row of eyes recurved, posterior straight. Chelicerae are provided with 3 large promarginal teeth and retromargin with 2 large teeth and 2 denticles (Almquist 2005). Endites are about twice as long as labium. Paracymbium sclerotized. The ventral markings sometimes consist of a broad dark median band flanked by reticulated narrow white bands.
There are 4 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Metellina mengei, M. merianae, M. segmentata.
Metellina mengei (Blackwall, 1870)
Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Georgia (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Metellina merianae (Scopoli, 1763) - Half-light orb weaver
Description: Carapace light brown with dark triangle covering head. Within the triangle there is a pair of light patches about midway between the ocular area and the fovea. Irregular blackish bands are present along the margins of the carapace. Foveal area also blackish with a few radiating dark streaks. Legs are yellowish brown more or less clearly annulated with greyish brown. Base of leg spines are ringed with black. The abdomen is yellowish brown mottled with plenty of dark brown. At a distance the abdomen may appear greenish grey. Ventrally, there is a pair of elongated light patches at side of spinners. In addition, the colour variety Metellina merianae celata has a golden median band running the whole length of abdomen. At close look the golden band is made up of patches of yellow and red as well as some white reticulated areas. Only four specimens of the golden striped variety are known from the Faroes. Assuming that ca.1000 specimens of the normal form have been collected on the island (410 by Brændegård, 1928) a rough estimation of the ratio between the two forms possible: 1000:4 = 250. That is ca. 0.4 %.of the population of Metellina merianae occur in golden striped variety. Size: Female 5.5-8.5 mm; male 5-7 mm. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegowina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Georgia (Platnick 10.0).
Small juvenile.
Female.
Small juvenile.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Palp and epigyne.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Metellina segmentata (Clerck, 1757)
Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Canada, introduced) (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Genus: Pachygnatha Sundevall, 1823 - Thickjawed orb weavers
There are 9 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Pachygnatha bonneti, P. clercki, P. clerckoides, P. degeeri, P. listeri, P. simoni, P. sundevalli, P. terilis, P. tullgreni.
Pachygnatha clercki Sundevall, 1823
Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), 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: Holarctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female abdominal markings.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Pachygnatha degeeri Sundevall, 1830
Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Pachygnatha listeri Sundevall, 1830
Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Genus: Sancus Tullgren, 1910
There is 1 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Sancus acoreensis.
Sancus acoreensis (Wunderlich, 1992)
Range: Portugal (Azores) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Azores (Platnick 10.0).
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Male.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Genus: Tetragnatha Latreille, 1804 - Longjawed orb weavers, stretch spiders
Characters of genus: The abdomen is elongate and slender usually two or three times as long as wide. The lateral eyes of each row are not contiguous. The chelicerae are long and divergent and the fang furrows are provided with long rows of large teeth. The legs are very long and provided with spines.
There are 24 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Tetragnatha boydi, T. chrysochlora, T. dearmata, T. extensa, T. extensa brachygnatha, T. extensa contigua, T. extensa pulchra, T. flava, T. fuerteventurensis, T. intermedia, T. isidis, T. montana, T. nigrita, T. nitens, T. obtusa, T. obtusa corsica, T. obtusa proprior, T. pinicola, T. reimoseri, T. shoshone, T. striata, T. trichodes, T. trichodes mendax, T. zangherii.
Tetragnatha extensa (Linnaeus, 1758) - Common stretch-spider
Description: The carapace and large divergent palps are yellowish. The sternum is brown with a distinct light triangle anteriorly. The reticulated markings of the abdomen are quite variable. Usually silvery white with a yellowish or reddish midline band which sometimes is divided longitudinally. The ventral side of the abdomen is blackish edged by white bands. Size: Female 6.5-11 mm; male 5-9 mm. Habitat: Bushes and tall grasses usually near water. Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Also known from Greenland (Masurik in prep.). Global range: Holarctic, Madeira (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Male.
Subadult male.
Female.
Subadult male.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Tetragnatha intermedia Kulczynski, 1891
Range: Croatia, Hungary, Spain (Balearic Islands), Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Portugal to Hungary, Russia (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Tetragnatha montana Simon, 1874
Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, 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, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Tetragnatha nigrita Lendl, 1886
Range: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Male.
Female with egg sack.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Juvenile.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Tetragnatha nitens (Audouin, 1826)
Range: Bulgaria, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Greece (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Cosmotropical (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Tetragnatha obtusa C. L. Koch, 1837
Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), 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).
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Tetragnatha sp.
Male, palp.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Male.
Female with parasite.
Female, close-up of parasite attached to the abdomen.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Habitat, the species can be swept from Myrica gale vegetation on Sphagnum bogs.
Tetragnatha striata L. Koch, 1862
Range: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia?, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Kazakhstan (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Juvenile.