The families of British spiders


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Jumping Spiders.

Morphology. The adult spiders 2–10 mm long; of medium build, or decidedly plump-bodied; decidedly short-legged (decidedly shorter to somewhat longer than the body); with eight eyes. The eyes ostensibly in three rows of 4+2+2, the anterior row of 4 incorporating two enlarged medians, and facing forwards on the square-fronted caput like a battery of car headlamps, with the two rows behind each comprising a pair of small eyes borne dorsilaterally on the top of the caput. The palpal organs of the male of complex structure and enclosed by the specialized, hollowed tarsal segment (the cymbium). The front legs forwardly directed, short or shortish, and rather stout. Metatarsus IV of the females without a calamistrum. Tarsal claws 2. The tarsi with claw tufts. The abdomen conspicuously patterned dorsally; with a single, inconspicuous tracheal spiracle. The abdomen of the females without a cribellum. The reproductive openings of the females associated with an epigyne.

The adults not making snare-webs; actively pursuing their prey (on foliage, ground vegetation and walls, leaping onto their prey in characteristic fashion).

British representation. 34 species in Britain; in the genera Attulus, Ballus, Bianor, Euophrys, Heliophanus, Marpissa, Myrmarachne, Neon, Pellenes, Phlegra, Pseudeuophrys, Salticus, Sitticus, and Synageles.

Comments. Compact spiders, with relatively short legs, the first pair of which are often markedly stouter than the rest.

Illustrations. • Examples from 10 genera.

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.’.