The families of British spiders


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


~Tetragnathidae; excluding Zygiella.

Orb Weavers.

Morphology. The adult spiders 3.5–16 mm long; of medium build, or decidedly plump-bodied; decidedly short-legged, or with legs of medium length (somewhat shorter than to nearly three times the body length); with eight eyes. The eyes in two horizontal rows of 4; all clear and glassy. The maxillae longer than broad. The palpal organs of the male of complex structure and enclosed by the specialized, hollowed tarsal segment (the cymbium). The male palps with a well developed paracymbium. Metatarsus IV of the females without a calamistrum. Tarsal claws 3. Tarsus IV without a ventral ‘comb’. The abdomen conspicuously patterned dorsally. The epigastric furrow nearly straight. The abdomen of the females without a cribellum. The reproductive openings of the females associated with an epigyne.

The adults making snare-webs; constructing orb webs (usually strung vertically, with an open hub).

British representation. 7 species in Britain; in the genera Metellina and Meta, with Zygiella now referred to Araneidae.

Comments. The posterior margin of the chelicerae exhibits one or more teeth, the labium is swollen distally, and the male palpus has an elongate, hairy paracymbium.

Illustrations. • Metellina segmentata. • Metellina merianae. • Metellina merianae, var. celata. • Meta menardi.

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.’.