- filtered for Spain (Canary Islands)
Images and Species Descriptions
Text and photographs © 2011 Jørgen Lissner
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Family: Thomisidae (Typical Crab Spiders)
Biology: The Thomisidae is the sixth largest spider family of the world encompassing ca 2062 species in 7 subfamilies and 171 genera. They range in size from small to large (2-23 mm body size). Thomisids have sturdy, moderately depressed bodies and strong, laterigrade legs with legs I and II longer than III and IV in most subfamilies. They move around in a characteristic crab-like fashion being capable of walking sideways as well as forwards and backwards. There is a great diversity in colours and forms. Some more brightly coloured species are active during the day. They occupy blossoms or other parts of vegetation where they ambush prey, often pollinators much larger than themselves. Some species are even capable of changing colour over a period of hours to several days to match the colour of the flower petals in which they reside. Other ground and bark living species have markings in grey and brown giving excellent camouflage in these surroundings. Some Ozyptila species are covered by dirt making them very difficult to spot on the ground. They make no prey-catching webs and spin no retreats for moulting, oviposition, or wintering. The first two pairs of legs are used for grabbing the prey when it inattentively have become within grasp. Legs III and IV are provided with scopulae and help to anchor the spider to the substrate during the short struggle with the prey. Once bitten the prey dies within seconds due to the high potency of thomisid venom. Often there is a great disparity in size and colouration between males and females, the males usually being much smaller and darker than the females. The courtship involves the male touching the female in a way that makes her adopt a submissive posture. Females are frequently seen guarding their eggsack.
Characters of family: The thomisids belong to the group of araneomorph, ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 2 tarsal claws. The eyes are arranged in two recurved rows of four with the posterior row usually more curved than the anterior row. The median eyes are the smallest, the laterals on confluent tubercles, with the posterior laterals facing somewhat backwards. The secondary eyes are provided with tapetum. Thomisids belong to a morphologically very diverse family of spiders generally characterized by broad, moderately flattened carapace and abdomen. The carapace is about as long as wide being semicircular, ovoid or slightly elongated sometimes with protuberances. Usually, it is thinly covered by a few erect simple or clavate setae sometimes arising from warts. Most species have lateral bands on the carapace; sometimes the bands reach the edge. The sternum is heart-shaped. Chelicerae are relatively small and weak, adapted for quick kills by biting prey in the head. Cheliceral teeth are absent except in one subfamily. Sometimes there are small teeth (denticles) present on promargin. Endites and labium are frequently longer than wide. Legs I and II are longer and sturdier than legs III and IV. Legs articulate in plane of the body (laterigrade legs). The anterior legs are often provided with series of strong spines on tibia and metatarsi (e.g. Xysticus and Ozyptila). The abdomen is variable in shape and colour. It may be round, ovoid or elongate, nearly always widest at rear half. It is often covered by scattered simple setae or clavate hairs. Abdominal colours vary from bright hues of white, yellow, green, and pink to shades of grey and brown in obscure patterns. The anterior spinners are short and conical and situated close together. A colulus is present in front of the spinners. The tracheal spiracle is situated close to the spinners. The epigyne is small and weakly sclerotized in some species. The epigynes of Xysticus species can be highly variable in depth of sclerotization within the same species and females are therefore sometimes difficult to identify by examination of epigynes. The tibia of the male palp is provided with ventral and retrolateral apophyses. Embolus is often long and curved along the rim of the cymbium.
Genus: Misumena Latreille, 1804 - Flower crab spiders
Characters of genus: The carapace is almost without spines. The eyes are small with the medials forming a square. Lateral eyes on small confluent tubercles. The abdomen is triangular, but rounded at corners. It is widest at the rear, but this is less pronounced for the male. Legs I and II are much longer than legs III and IV. Legs I of the female have tibia and metatarsi furnished with paired robust spines. At least six pairs are present on the tibia and at least seven pairs are present on the metatarsi.
Misumena spinifera (Blackwall, 1862)
Range: Portugal (Madeira), Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Madeira, Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Subadult female.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Ozyptila Simon, 1864 - Leaflitter crab spiders
Biology: The species are ambush hunters found at ground-level amongst low vegetation, in leaf litter, detritus and in crevices in soil, rocks, wood, walls, sometimes also behind bark. At night they may be found higher up in the vegetation indicating a nocturnal lifestyle. They move around very slowly, and may play dead for a long time if disturbed. Some species are covered with dirt. The females attach their egg sacks under stones or other objects on the ground.
Characters of genus: The members of this genus have colours and markings that make them resemble species of the Xysticus genus. However, they differ by being smaller, by having the median ocular trapezium longer than broad and by having the head protruded from thorax so that the carapace appear less circular. In addition they have only two pairs of ventral spines on tibia I and II, and the body is clothed with clavate hairs. These break off fairly easily, and may therefore be lacking. In some species the setae are very small and difficult to see with a lens. The abdomen is without a folium but with spots and transverse bars. Femur I is often swollen on prolateral side. Legs III and IV are only slightly shorter than I and II. Males are usually darker than females and more compactly bodied. This is in contrast to most other spider species where males usually are more slender and long-legged compared to females.
Ozyptila atlantica Denis, 1963
Range: Portugal (Selvagens Islands), Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is, Salvages (Platnick 10.0).
Ozyptila tenerifensis Wunderlich, 1992
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Genus: Synema Simon, 1864
Characters of genus: Carapace when viewed from in front strongly convex. Anterior lateral eyes larger than posterior laterals and on larger tubercles.
Synema globosum (Fabricius, 1775)
Description: The carapace is black and shiny except for the eye region which is brown. The abdomen with black blotch dorsally. Remaining parts are either yellow or orange. Male similar but smaller and darker. The species has an unmistakably appearance and cannot be mistaken for any other species in the region. Size: Female 6-8.5 mm; male 3-4 mm. Maturity: Summer. Habitat: On vegetation, including flowerheads in lightly grazed or unmowed meadows with tall vegetation, sometimes also bushes. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Russia (Southern European), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland), Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Thomisus Walckenaer, 1805
Characters of genus: The abdomen is distinctly triangular, truncated at the widest point at the rear . The eyes sits on an anvil shaped protuberance.
Thomisus onustus Walckenaer, 1805
Description: The species is easily identified by the triangular abdomen and the protuberances that carry the lateral eyes. The colour of the female’s abdomen is either white, yellow or pink as in this image. Just like the better-known Misumena vatia the female is able to slowly change her colour to match the colour of the flower or flower heads where she waits for prey, such as pollinators. The male is much smaller and less variable in colour. Size: Female 6-7 mm; male 2.5-3.5 mm. Maturity: Summer. Habitat: Low vegetation with flowers such as meadows and heather. Range: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegowina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Germany, Great Britain (Mainland), Greece (Crete), Greece (Cyclades), Greece (Dodecanese Islands), Greece (Mainland), Greece (North Aegean Islands), Hungary, Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Italy (Sicily), Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Mainland), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland), Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Palearctic (Platnick 10.0).
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Genus: Xysticus C. L. Koch, 1835 - Ground crab spiders
Characters of genus: These spiders are medium sized and crablike. Most species are in various shades of brown and grey with patterns made of white and yellow blotches and bars. Males are often darker than females and with more vivid tints. The carapace is brownish with central whitish-yellow band enclosing a darker triangle behind the posterior eyes and pointing backwards. The carapace is armed with long black spines which are round, Hereby they differ from the related genus, Ozyptila which have short blunt or clavate spines. The median ocular trapezium forms almost a square or is slightly wider than long. The anterior lateral eyes are clearly larger than the rest, the lateral eyes of both rows on independent tubercles. The abdomen is wider at rear bearing a folium dorsally and usually with white blotches and transverse bars. The legs are short, stout and spiny. Most species ambush prey on low vegetation, while others are found in leaf litter, under stones and bark.
Xysticus asper (Lucas, 1838)
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Xysticus canariensis (Wunderlich, 1987)
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Xysticus clavulus (Wunderlich, 1987)
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Xysticus fuerteventurensis (Wunderlich, 1992)
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Xysticus lanzarotensis (Wunderlich, 1992)
Range: Portugal (Selvagens Islands), Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Xysticus nubilus Simon, 1875
Range: France (Corsica), France (Mainland), Italy (Mainland), Italy (Sardinia), Macedonia, Malta, Portugal (Azores), Portugal (Madeira), Portugal (Mainland), Slovenia?, Spain (Balearic Islands), Spain (Canary Islands), Spain (Mainland) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Mediterranean, Azores, Macronesia (Platnick 10.0).
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Xysticus pinocorticalis (Wunderlich, 1992)
Range: Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is (Platnick 10.0).
Xysticus squalidus Simon, 1883
Range: Portugal (Madeira), Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is, Madeira (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult male.
Xysticus verneaui Simon, 1883
Range: Portugal (Madeira), Spain (Canary Islands) (van Helsdingen 2009.1). Global range: Canary Is, Madeira (Platnick 10.0).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.