- filtered for Bosnia/Herzegowina
Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Gnaphosidae (Ground Spiders)
Biology: The Gnaphosidae is the seventh largest spider family of the world encompassing ca. 2000 species in 8 subfamilies and 114 genera. They range in size from small to large (2-18 mm body size). The species are free-living found mailnly at ground level in open habitats but some species are house spiders, for example Scotophaeus blackwalli in the northern parts of its distributional range. They build a tubular retreat, from which they leave at night to hunt prey. The female guard her papery egg sack hidden in small holes under logs, stones, etc. Most species are active at night, however spiders of the somewhat atypical genus Micaria are diurnal hunters running rapidly about in bright sunshine.
Characters of family: The gnaphosids are rather stout ecribellate spiders with a flattened and elongate abdomen. The carapace is ovoid and rather low being smoothly convex and with a distinct fovea in most species. The head is not sharply set off from the thoracic region. Gnaphosids are fairly easily recognized by their cylindrical and parallel spinners, the anterior pair being slightly longer, and more heavily sclerotized than the posterior pair. The anterior spinners are separated from each other by approximately one spinner diameter with some exceptions, e.g. Micaria in which genus anterior spinners are closer. They have 8 eyes in 2 rows. The posterior medial eyes are often not round, but oval, triangular or reduced to slits. All eyes are with a silvery sheen except for the anterior medials, which are dark. The sternum is ovoid, pointed posteriorly. The chelicerae are robust, and the fang furrows are provided with teeth. The retromargin may have a sclerotized lamina (flat, keel-like plate) in place of teeth. This lamina is serrated in some genera. The curvature of the posterior row of eyes and the position and shape of cheliceral lamina and teeth are important characters when keying gnaphosids to genus level under the stereomicroscope. The endites usually have an oblique or transverse depression. They are provided with a serrula (row or cluster of tiny teeth on the front margin). Gnaphosids are also characterized by having 2 tarsal claws, claw tufts, and scopulae. Legs are stout and in some species there are small brushes of more and less stiff hairs present distally on metatarsus IV. Female palp is furnished with small spines and a finely toothed claw. The abdomen is often provided with dense coverage of short sleek hairs giving the abdomen a mousy-like appearance. Sometimes erect, curved setae are present, particularly at the anterior edge (see for example images of Gnaphosa lucifuga). Many species are uniformly coloured in greyish-brown or blackish colours. However, abdomens of some species have striking white patterns of spots or lines while abdomens of others are iridescent. Most males have a scutum at the anterior end. The spiracle is situated close to the spinners. Gnaphosids are entelegyne spiders often having rather large epigynes with sclerotized structures. They are somewhat variable and closely related species may be difficult to identify. Male palps are usually provided with a large tibial apophysis and the shape of this is important when identifying the species.
Genus: Drassodes Westring, 1851
Characters of genus: The abdomen has dense short hairs making the spiders appear mousy. These spiders are mostly reddish-brown to greyish-brown, and resemble spiders from the Clubionidae. However, the spinners are tubular as characteristic of the Gnaphosidae. The members of the genus are distinguished from other gnaphosids by the deeply notched trochanters. The posterior medial eyes are oval. Males have no scutum.
Drassodes lapidosus (Walckenaer, 1802)
Size: 9-18 mm. Maturity: Females throughout year, males in spring and summer. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegowina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Channel Islands), Great Britain (Mainland), Great Britain (Northern Ireland), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
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Female with egg cocoon.
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Genus: Drassyllus Chamberlin, 1922
Characters of genus: Posterior medial eyes larger than laterals and in most species oval and oblique. Posterior row of eyes slightly procurved and the medials are closer to each other than to the laterals. Distal end of metatarsi III og IV is furnished with a ventral comb. Mostly dark species resembling species of the Zelotes genus.
Drassyllus praeficus (L. Koch, 1866)
Description: Very dark brown or black species with contrasting yellow-orange branchial operculae. Size: Female 5-6 mm; male 4.5-5 mm. Maturity: Spring and Summer. Habitat: Appears to be mainly coastal in Denmark. Seems to prefer dry areas with low vegetation and stones. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegowina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Mainland), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway (Mainland), Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Central European), Russia (Eastern European), Russia (Northern European), Russia (NW. 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).
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