The families of British spiders


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Cribellate Orb-weavers.

Morphology. The adult spiders 3–6 mm long; of medium build; decidedly short-legged, or with legs of medium length (less than twice as long as the body?); with eight eyes. The eyes in two horizontal rows of 4; all dark. The palpal organs of the male of complex structure and enclosed by the specialized, hollowed tarsal segment (the cymbium). Metatarsus IV 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. 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 orb webs (or a triangular section of one, the full versions being strung horizontally and exhibiting stabilimenta of matted silk threads across the centre).

British representation. 2 species in Britain; in the genera Hyptiotes and Uloborus. Widespread (in England, but overwhelmingly southern).

Comments. The two British representatives are very different in appearance from one another, and fairly easily identifiable on sight.

Illustrations. • Uloborus.

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.’.