The families of British spiders


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Excluding Liocranidae.

Foliage Spiders.

Morphology. The adult spiders 3–10 mm long; of medium build; decidedly short-legged (mostly), or with legs of medium length (sometimes more than twice the body length in male Cheiracanthium); with eight eyes. The eyes in two horizontal rows of 4 (the posterior medians circular, by contrast with most Gnaphosiidae); all clear and glassy. The palpal organs of the male of complex structure and enclosed by the specialized, hollowed tarsal segment (the cymbium). The front legs not short and stout. Metatarsus IV of the females without a calamistrum. Scopulae present on tarsi I and II. Tarsal claws 2. The tarsi with claw tufts. The abdomen conspicuously patterned dorsally, or plain dorsally; with a single, inconspicuous tracheal spiracle. The anterior spinnerets close together (hiding the medians). The spinnerets all unsegmented, or with one pair of spinnerets 2-segmented. The abdomen of the females without a cribellum. The reproductive openings of the females associated with an epigyne.

The adults constructing a terrestrial retreat in the form of a silk tube (the retreats made on foliage and grass); actively pursuing their prey (hunting nocturnally).

British representation. 23 species in Britain; in the genera Cheiracanthium, Clubiona, and Phrurolithus.

Comments. The total width of the eye group usually at least half the maximum width of the carapace, by contrast with Liocranidae, but Phrurolithus constitutes an exception.

Illustrations. • Clubiona terrestris. • Clubiona comta. • Clubiona brevipes. • Clubiona corticalis. • Clubiona pallidula. • Cheiracanthium erraticum. • Phrurolithus festivus (C.L. Koch), Clubonia sp.. • Clubiona subtilis?. • Clubiona stagnatilis?.

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.’.