The families of British spiders


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Spitting Spiders.

Morphology. The adult spiders 3–6(–8) mm long; decidedly plump-bodied; decidedly long-legged; with six eyes. The eyes in pairs at the front of the cephalothorax, the two lateral pairs placed obliquely, and the median pair larger and situated transversely ahead of them. 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. The tarsi without claw tufts. The abdomen conspicuously patterned dorsally. The abdomen of the females without a cribellum. The reproductive openings of the females without an epigyne.

The adults not making snare-webs; fairly actively pursuing their prey (usually found wandering over walls and ceilings in buildings, entangling prey in gummy threads which they spit from the chelicerae).

British representation. 1 species in Britain; in the genus Scytodes (S. thoracica).

Comments. The carapace, abdomen and legs of the single British representative are clearly patterned with black on a pale yellow background.

Illustrations. • Scytodes thoracica.

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.’.