The families of British spiders


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Funnel-web Spiders, Cobweb Spiders.

Morphology. The adult spiders 2–17 mm long; of medium build (mainly), or decidedly plump-bodied; diverse in form, decidedly short-legged, or with legs of medium length, or decidedly long-legged to harvestman-like with very long, thin legs more than five times the body length; with eight eyes. The eyes in two horizontal rows of 4; all clear and glassy. The palpal organs of the male of complex structure and enclosed by the specialized, hollowed tarsal segment (the cymbium). The trochanters not notched. Metatarsus IV of the females without a calamistrum. Tarsal claws 3. Tarsus IV without a ventral ‘comb’. The abdomen conspicuously patterned dorsally. The spinnerets clustered and superposed. With one pair of spinnerets 2-segmented (the posterior, larger pair). The abdomen of the females without a cribellum. The reproductive openings of the females associated with an epigyne.

The adults making snare-webs; constructing funnel-shaped or tubular webs, or constructing horizontal sheet webs (usually with a tubular retreat at one corner, prey being attacked on the upper side of the web).

British representation. 17 species in Britain; in 7 genera: Agelena, Cicurina, Coelotes, Cryphoecia, Tegenaria, Tetrix, and Tuberta.

Comments. The tarsi bear a series of trichobothria, increasing in length acopetally. These are the common formers of large, sheet cobwebs in buildings, but in more confined spaces the webs tend to be funnel-shaped; and in very enclosed places, such as under stones, they tend to be tubular.

Illustrations. • Agelena labyrinthica. • Coelotes atropos. • Cryphoeca silvicola. • Tegenaria "atrica". • Tegenaria parietina. • Tegenaria domestica. • Tetrix denticulata.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. The families of British spiders. Version: 4th January 2012.’.