- only species with images listed
Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Dictynidae (Meshweb Weavers)
Biology: The Dictynidae is relatively species rich encompassing 563 species in 48 genera. The highest diversity is found in the temperate regions. They range in size from very small to medium (1.3-8.0 mm body size). The family is grouped into three rather different subfamilies: Dictyninae, Cicurininae, and Tricholathysinae. Dictynids are cribellate but cribellum is reduced in the Cicurininae. The lifestyle is quite different among the subfamilies. The Dictyninae, encompassing such genera as Dictyna, Emblyna and Nigma are mostly plant dwellers and are found in low vegetation as well as higher up such as shoot apices of grass and bushes or the foliage of trees. Here they build irregular, woolly mesh webs often made of bluish cribellate silk. The Cicurininae (e.g. Cicurina and Lathys) and Tricholathysinae (e.g. Argenna and Altella) are mostly ground-dwellers building their webs underneath logs, stones, and other objects on the ground. They are found in a variety of habitats. Members of the Tricholathysinae are also found in salt marshes and in algal upwash.
Characters of family: The dictynids are characterized by having 3 tarsal claws. They are cribellate but in many species the cribellum is reduced. They possess 8 eyes, however there are some 6-eyed Cicurina species in which the anterior medials are reduced. Some blind, cave dwelling Cicurina species even have they eyes reduced to zero. The calamistrum if present is arranged in one row (uniseriate). The cribellum is usually wide in those species possessing cribellum, bipartite or entire (absent in Cicurininae). The cephalic region of the Dictyninae is usually high perhaps to fit the relatively large poison glands. In this subfamily the cephalic region is furnished with longitudinal rows of white hairs. These are not present in the Tricholathysinae in which the carapace is pear-shaped. The sternum is triangular. The chelicerae are long and modified in males of some genera, e.g. Dictyna. The males of this genera has the chelicerae concave in front and bowed outward near the middle, often having a well developed mastidion (denticle or tubercle) on the anterior face of the chelicerae. The endites are converging. Legs are moderately long and usually without spines. In some genera tarsus of each leg are without a trichobothrium (e.g. Dictyna) while tarsus of each leg has one trichobothrium in others (e.g. Lathys). In Cicurina, tarsus of each leg possesses a series of trichobothria, which increase in length towards the distal end as in some genera of the Agelenidae family. In yet other dictynid genera there are two tarsal series of trichobothria. The abdomen is oval to elongate, often overhanging the carapace and densely covered with fine hairs, which sometimes are distributed to form a pattern. The cardiac mark is clear in some genera as in Dictyna but indistinct or absent in others as in Cicurina. Dictynids are entelegyne with the epigyne weakly sclerotized in some genera (e.g. Dictyna and Argenna) while more sclerotized in other genera (e.g. Cicurina). The male palp has a tibial apophysis. The embolus is long and slender in most species.
This family is represented in Europe with 78 species in 18 genera (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009). European genera (number of species in parenthesis): Ajmonia (1), Altella (7), Archaeodictyna (3), Arctella (1), Argenna (2), Brommella (2), Chaerea (1), Chorizomma (1), Cicurina (3), Devade (2), Dictyna (21), Emblyna (7), Hackmania (1), Lathys (14), Marilynia (2), Mastigusa (3), Mizaga (1), Nigma (6).
Genus: Ajmonia Caporiacco, 1934
There is 1 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Ajmonia patellaris.
Ajmonia patellaris (Simon, 1911)
Range: Spain (Balearic Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Algeria (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
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Male.
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Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Archaeodictyna Caporiacco, 1928
There are 3 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Archaeodictyna ammophila, A. consecuta, A. minutissima.
Archaeodictyna consecuta (O. P.-Cambridge, 1872)
Range: Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Lithuania, Moldova, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia?, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Ukraine (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Genus: Argenna Thorell, 1870
Characters of genus: Spiders of this genus are primarly found in coastal habitats.
There are 2 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Argenna patula, A. subnigra.
Argenna patula (Simon, 1874)
Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Ukraine (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Argenna subnigra (O. P.-Cambridge, 1861)
Description: Small, dark spider with no distinct morphological characteristics. This makes it prone for confusion with members of the Linyphiidae. Despite this the species is rather easy to identify in the field due to its habitatpreference, the cribelatte snare, the matte, greyish-black to greyish brown colouration of the abdomen, and the distinct "Dictynid" bodyform. Especially the head with its longitudinal row of light hairs (10 x lens) reveal the identity. The characteristic white discs of the female's epigyne is also sometimes visible and aid identification. Size: Female 1.75-2.5 mm; male 1.5-1.75 mm. Habitat: Under stones in dunes and coastal grassland. Also under stones on beaches above the upwash zone. Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe, Russia (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Cicurina Menge, 1871
Characters of genus: The species are quite similar in appearance, with legs and cephalothorax yellowish and the abdomen lightgray or pink, with some faint spots or chevrons. Cicurina cicur has a wide distribution in Europe while C. japonica only fairly recently has established populations in Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. There are just three European species, whereas a number of species are present in North America, including some cave species having the eyes reduced to six, and some having no eyes at all.
There are 3 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Cicurina cicur, C. japonica, C. rhodiensis.
Cicurina cicur (Fabricius, 1793)
Description: This spider has a glossy cephalothorax and a finely mottled greyish-pink abdomen. Spin as small, easily overlooked sheet web. When exposed to dayligh the species often run for cover very rapidly, unless it is a female guarding her egsack. Size: 5-7 mm. Maturity: All year? Habitat: Dark, moist forests. Specimens can be found under logs and rottening tree stumps, under stones, and somtimes in leaf litter. Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (NW. European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Central Asia (Platnick 10.0).
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Juvenile.
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Male abdominal markings.
Female.
Cicurina japonica (Simon, 1886)
Range: Denmark (introduced), Germany (introduced), Italy (Mainland), Switzerland (introduced) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Korea, Japan (Europe, introduced) (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
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Genus: Dictyna Sundevall, 1833
Biology: The species are mostly found in low vegetation such as shrubs and weeds. Here they build rather messy, bluish cribellate snares in the tops of weeds and twigs. Some European species are associated with other habitats such as seaweed upwash, cliffs and the outside walls of buildings. Some species need microscopic examination for proper species identification.
Characters of genus: Members of this genus are small, rather similar spiders with an broad abdomen and short legs. Patterned with light hairs on a dark abdomen. The head region often have the light hairs arranged in longitudinal rows.
There are 21 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Dictyna alaskae, D. armata, D. arundinacea, D. civica, D. fuerteventurensis, D. guanchae, D. hamifera, D. ignea (nomen dubium), D. ignobilis, D. innocens, D. kosiorowiczi, D. latens, D. major, D. pectita (nomen dubium), D. pusilla, D. schmidti, D. szaboi, D. tristicula (nomen dubium), D. uncinata, D. varians, D. vicina.
Dictyna arundinacea (Linnaeus, 1758)
Description: Dark species with light hairs such as the spider appear greyish where coverage is dense. The head has five longitudinal rows of light hairs. Size: Female 2.5-3.5 mm; male 2-3 mm. Maturity: Spring and summer Habitat: Heather, dry grassland and bogs (particularly nutrient-poor), in the tops of often dead vegetation, such as bushes and grasses Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Holarctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Male.
Female.
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Female.
Female.
Dictyna civica (Lucas, 1850)
Description: Sligthly larger than D. arundinacea but otherwise remble this species. Size: Female 3-3.5 mm; male 2.5-3 mm. Maturity: Spring and summer. Habitat: On walls and oudoor parts of roofs. The rather circular snares may be numerous and spaced little apart. In cities the snares are often dirty and easy to spot on white walls. Range: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France (Mainland), Germany, Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovakia, Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe, North Africa, North America (Platnick 10.0).
Female, epigyne (hairs removed, Greek specimen).
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Web on housewall, spider camouflaged by prey remnants.
Female.
Female.
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Female.
Dictyna guanchae Schmidt, 1968
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
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Female.
Female.
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Male.
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Male ballooning.
Male.
Dictyna innocens O. P.-Cambridge, 1872
Range: Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Eastern Mediterranean, Kazakhstan (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Dictyna latens (Fabricius, 1775)
Description: Much darker, almost black compared to the other species of the genus. Could be confused with Argenna subnigra, however this species lack the distinct longitudinal rows of white hairs on the head. Size: Female 2.5-3-5 mm; male 2-2.5 mm. Maturity: Spring and summer. Habitat: Same as D. arundinacea according to the literature. However, my own records of this species indicate that this species is more frequent in coastal grassland than inland heather compared to D. arundinacea. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe to Central Asia (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Dictyna major Menge, 1869
Size: Female 3-3.5 mm; male 2.5-3 mm. Range: Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Sweden, Ukraine?, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Also known from Greenland (Masurik in prep.). Global range: Holarctic (Platnick 10.0).
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Dictyna pusilla Thorell, 1856
Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
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Female.
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Dictyna uncinata Thorell, 1856
Range: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
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Genus: Emblyna Chamberlin, 1948
There are 7 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Emblyna acoreensis, E. annulipes, E. borealis, E. brevidens, E. mitis, E. mongolica, E. teideensis.
Emblyna acoreensis Wunderlich, 1992
Range: Portugal (Azores) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Azores (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Emblyna borealis (O. P.-Cambridge, 1877)
Size: Female 2.7-3 mm; male 2.5-2.7 mm. Range: Greenland (Masurik in prep.). Global range: Russia, USA, Canada, Greenland (Platnick 10.0).
Subadult male.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
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Subadult male.
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Subadult female.
Genus: Lathys Simon, 1884
Characters of genus: The small members of this genus are characterized by having much smaller anterior medial eyes than the rest.
There are 14 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Lathys affinis, L. dentichelis, L. heterophthalma, L. humilis, L. humilis meridionalis, L. jubata, L. lepida, L. lutulenta, L. narbonensis, L. nielseni, L. sexpustulata, L. simplex, L. stigmatisata, L. teideensis.
Lathys dentichelis (Simon, 1883)
Range: Portugal (Azores), Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Azores, Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Lathys humilis (Blackwall, 1855)
Description: Small, greenish-brown spider with black markings on the cephalothorax and a dark area on the abdomen. Legs are clearly annulated with dark brown. Males are slimmer than females. Size: Female 2-2.5 mm; male 1.75-2 mm. Maturity: Spring and summer. Habitat: Bark of treessuch as pines and various broadleaved trees in a variety of habitats. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belarus?, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Kaliningrad Region), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
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Lathys nielseni (Schenkel, 1932)
Range: Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe (Platnick 10.0).
Female, abdominal markings.
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Female.
Subadult male.
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Subadult male.
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Genus: Mastigusa Menge, 1854
Characters of genus: This genus contains three species of which two are closely related and may just be two races of the same species. For the time being they are considered the same species here and in this case the oldest valid name is arietina. The two species or races differ only in the arrangement and size of the eyes. The genus has had a chequered career, both in relation the name and family to sort under. For the time being the genus is assigned to Dictynidae but this may very well change in the future. Both species are associated with ant nests wherein they breed, on the condition that the nests are not too compact.
There are 3 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Mastigusa arietina, M. lucifuga, M. macrophthalma.
Mastigusa arietina (Thorell, 1871)
Description: Small/mediumsized pinkish-brown spider with faint chevrons. The male palp has giant lamellae which curve back over the cephalothorax. Size: 3-3.5 mm. Maturity: All year? Habitat: Ants nests, supposedly primarily old growth woodlands with clearings. Sometimes also leaf litter and under stones i the vicinty of ants nests. Range: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Eastern European), Russia (NW. European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
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Male.
Genus: Nigma Lehtinen, 1967
There are 6 European species (van Helsdingen, 2009; Platnick, 2009): Nigma flavescens, N. gratiosa, N. hortensis, N. puella, N. tuberosa, N. vulnerata, N. walckenaeri.
Nigma flavescens (Walckenaer, 1830)
Range: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Slovakia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Nigma puella (Simon, 1870)
Range: Andorra, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Europe, Azores, Madeira, Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
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Juvenile.
Juvenile.
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Nigma tuberosa Wunderlich, 1987
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
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Female.
Female.
Subadult male, abdominal markings.
Male.
Nigma walckenaeri (Roewer, 1951)
Range: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Male abdominal markings.
Female.
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Web.
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Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Abdominal markings, subadult female.
Subadult female.
Female abdominal markings.