The families of British spiders


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Mesh-webbed Spiders.

Morphology. The adult spiders 1–4 mm long; of medium build to decidedly plump-bodied, or decidedly plump-bodied; decidedly short-legged (from about as long as the body to about 1.5 times as long); with eight eyes. The eyes in two horizontal rows of 4; light, except for the dark anterior medians. The palpal organs of the male of complex structure and enclosed by the specialized, hollowed tarsal segment (the cymbium). Metatarsus IV not concave above. Metatarsus IV of the females with a dorsal series of curved bristles (the calamistrum, which is reduced in the males); the bristles in a single row. Tarsal claws 3. The abdomen conspicuously patterned dorsally; exhibiting red or pink colour, but neither predominantly bright red and black nor predominantly bright red and yellow, or without any red coloration (yellowish to green with white spots, or in Nigma sometimes entirely red, or with a red stripe). The abdomen of the females furnished with a plate-like cribellum anterior to the spinnerets (this being reduced in the males).

The adults making snare-webs; constructing horizontal sheet webs (these fuzzy, in plant inflorescences or across leaves).

British representation. 15 species in Britain; in the genera Altella, Argenna, Dictyna, Lathys, and Nigma.

Illustrations. • Dyctina arundinacea. • Lathys humilis, Dictyna latens. • Nigma puella.

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.’.