The families of British spiders


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Six-eyed Spiders.

Morphology. The adult spiders 4–15 mm long; slender-bodied, or of medium build; decidedly short-legged, or with legs of medium length (from less than the body length to almost twice its length); with six eyes. The eyes clustered almost in a circle (this anteriorly open, or more or less closed). The palpal organs of the male comprising an exposed bulb attached to the little-modified tarsal segment (no cymbium). Metatarsus IV of the females without a calamistrum. Tarsal claws 2, or 3. The tarsi with claw tufts (when two-clawed), or without claw tufts. The abdomen plain dorsally; exhibiting a pair of large tracheal spiracles behind the book lungs. The tracheal spiracles behind the epigastric fold. The abdomen of the females without a cribellum. The reproductive openings of the females without an epigyne.

The adults constructing a terrestrial retreat in the form of a silk tube (under stones); not making snare-webs; actively pursuing their prey (nocturnal hunters).

British representation. 3 species in Britain; in the genera Dysdera and Harpactea.

Illustrations. • Dysdera erythrina. • Dysdera crocata. • Harpactea homburgi.

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.’.