Introduction
The aim of this webpage is to provide information about the spider fauna of the Azores. In time this site is planned to contain images and species descriptions of all species occurring on the archipelago. Images of alcohol preserved specimen will be used until images of live specimens are available. It is hoped to supplement habitus images with images of female epigynes and male palps to enhance the ability of anyone wanting to successfully identify spiders collected on the archipelago. Images shown on this page may not be based on Azorean specimens but spiders collected or observed elsewhere in their distributional range. Many of these images together with the detailed distribution of species on the nine Azorean islands could be accessed in the Azorean Biodiversity Portal. The images taken by Enésima Mendonça were taken under the Project Interreg IIIB Bionatura and a Grant of CITA-A (University of Azores).
The spiders
The Azorean spider fauna comprises 122 species belonging to 90 genera and 26 families. Only 35 species are indigenous to the archipelago (i.e. endemic or native), the remaining species are believed to be introductions from different parts of the world. The low number of indigenous species reflects the remoteness of the archipelago, which also has caused a high number of endemics counting to 22 species (66% of indigenous species). The majority of species are introduced and totals 87 species. Many originate from Europe and North America, but some also from other continents and archipelagos. The composition of the spider fauna may thus appear very peculiar to arachnologists visiting the islands where many familiar species can be observed to co-occur with strange exotic species. The Azorean spider fauna is not very well investigated but in recent years more effort has been made to improve knowledge about this group of animals and quite a few species have been added to the spider fauna (Borges and Wunderlich, 2008). The new species found include endemics and indicate that more species are yet to be discovered.
Description of the Islands
The Azorean Islands are situated far out in the North Atlantic Sea at about 38N latitude. The archipelago is made up of nine islands and eight islets of volcanic origin. The islands have a total area of 2,346 km2. Their individual areas vary between 759 km2 and 17 km2. The easternmost and westernmost islands are separated by ca. 615 km. The mild climate is oceanic with relatively low fluctuations in temperatures and high precipitation and humidity. An evergreen broadleaf laurel type forest dominates the natural vegetation but much of the native vegetation has been replaced by planted vegetation and introduced plant species. About 13% of the land area form parts of the European Natura 2000 conservation management scheme to protect and restore selected habitats and provide protection of certain species.
Below follows a list of Azorean spider species ordered alphabetically by family. Descriptions of families, genera, and species are at present incomplete but additions will be made whenever time allows. It is possible to click on thumbnails to view images in large size for those species having images.
Family: Agelenidae (Funnelweb Weavers)
This is a fairly small family, which is represented with a little more than 500 species in 41 genera. They range in size from medium to large (4.5 to at least 20 mm body size). Most species are living on sheet webs with a funnel or tubular retreat where the spider sits ready. When prey land on the web the spider rush out over it always in an upright position and grab the prey, which is then dragged back to the retreat for consumption. The web is usually built in low vegetation and bushes but some species inhabit the hollows of tree trunks, caves, and houses. Some indoor species are now almost cosmopolitan in distribution. The family is represented with five species on the Azorean Islands.
Characters of family: The agelenids belong to the group of entelegyne, ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The members of the family are characterized by the often very long, two-segmented posterior spinnerets, which taper toward the tip. The long spinners are visible even when the spiders are viewed from above. Another character for the family is the tarsal trichobothria, which are arranged, in a single row and increases in length toward the distal end. However, this character is shared with species that have been transferred to other genera in recent times. The carapace is characterized by often having the head (cephalic region) narrow and very clearly separated from the wider thoracic region. The eyes are equal sized and arranged in 2 rows of 4. The curvature of the posterior row of eyes is characteristic for some of the commoner European genera with some having this eye row recurved, straight or procurved. Sternum is heart-shaped and sometimes with markings which may aid species identification. Labium is as wide as long. Many species have long slender spinose legs and are capable of fast runs. The abdomen is oval and tapering posteriorly usually with species-specific colour patterns dorsally in various shades of brown and grey. Both the carapace and the abdomen are often densely covered by plumose hairs but this is only visible when using a lens or stereomicroscope. Epigyne is often large but the differences between related species sometimes small and a stereomicroscope is therefore required for proper identification. The male palp has a tibial apophysis. The shape of the apophysis is sometimes visible with a lens facilitating reliable identification of live males. In this respect it is an advantage to confine the specimen in a glass tube.
Genus: Lycosoides Lucas, 1846
Lycosoides coarctata (Dufour, 1831)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Palp and epigyne.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Malthonica Simon, 1898
Malthonica pagana (C. L. Koch, 1840)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male palp.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Genus: Tegenaria Latreille, 1804
Characters of genus: Head prominent, protruding. Thoracic part of carapace oval. Posterior row of eyes slightly procurved with the medials marginally smaller than laterals. Trapezium formed by medial eyes widest behind. Clypeus higher than twice the diameter of an anterior medial eye. Chelicerae strong with distinct lateral condyles. Labium longer than broad. Carapace and legs with coverage of plumose hairs, however only discernible as plumose at high magnification. Tibia and patella of legs I less than 1.5 times the length of the carapace. Abdomen oval, rather elongate with dense hairing usually with markings consisting of paired spots or chevrons. Posterior spinners long, more than twice the length of anteriors and widely separated. Males with similar markings as the females but slimmer and with relatively longer legs. Many species have characteristic markings on the sternum which may aid species identification. Members of Tegenaria possess a thick and short embolus originating from subapical part of the embolus (Guseinov et al. 2005). Formerly, the genus also included species with long, filamentous embolus originating basally or subbasally, but these species have been transferred to Malthonica (Guseinov et al. 2005).
Tegenaria domestica (Clerck, 1757) - Barn funnel weaver
Description: Male and female with similar in general appearance. Carapace greyish-brown with wide irregular bands in median line and sides. Abdomen light yellowish-brown with light grey indistinct markings forming vague chevrons at rear. The whole spider is clothed with long hairs, particurlarly the head region and the abdomen. Legs with faint annulations. Sternum dark with a narrow light median band flanked by three pairs of rather indistinct spots. Size: Female 8-11 mm; male 6-9 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male abdominal markings.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Tegenaria parietina (Fourcroy, 1785)
Description: Carapace dark brown with wide, light-coloured central and lateral bands. Margin with three dark-brown patches in each side. Older specimens may have less contrast between light and dark areas and sometimes even appear uniform grey partly due to dense clothing with light hairs. Sternum with three equal-sized patches opposite coxa I, II, and III, and with light median band, however these markings are usually absent in older specimens. This is a long-legged species with the length of legs almost five-times the body lenght in males, much less so in females. Legs light yellow-brown with darker annulations especially on the femora. Legs of older individuals often uniform brown. Abdomen with yellow-brown central band flanked by fairly large light pathes, and some smaller, dark ones. Sides of abdomen with smaller spots in the same colours. Abdomen of older specimens is lighter, sometimes uniform light brown with long, relatively thin hairs. Size: Female 11-20 mm; male 11-17 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Juvenile.
Sternum of juvenile.
Male.
Male.
Female, close-up of abdomen.
Female guarding egg sack.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Textrix Sundevall, 1833
Characters of genus: The members of this genus have the posterior row of eyes strongly recurved with the medials larger than the laterals. The narrow head is clearly set off from the thorax. The species may resemble wolf spiders as they are sometimes seen running about in sunshine, but the long and segmented posterior spinners are very noticeable and give them away as funnel web weavers. There are two species in northern and central Europe, of which one occur in Denmark.
Textrix caudata L. Koch, 1872
Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial.
Male.
Palp.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Family: Anyphaenidae (Buzzing Spiders)
This family has its headquarters in the new world with almost forty species described in several genera from the US and Canada. They are long-legged, active hunters usually taking their prey on foliage. There is just one Azorean species in the genus Anyphaena.
Characters of family: The superficially resemble members of the Clubionidae, but are distinguished from those by the location of the tracheal spiracle which is situated about midway between the gential groove and spinnerets. The claw tufts is composed of lamelliform hairs. The males of the Anyphaenidae also have more complex external genitialia than the males of the Clubionidae.
Genus: Anyphaena Sundevall, 1833
Characters of genus: The eyes are oval and pearly, except the anterior medials which are dark and circular.
Anyphaena accentuata (Walckenaer, 1802)
Description: The single species of Northern and Central Europe lives on the leaves of trees and bushes in both decidouos and coniferous forests and has an unmistakable appearance. The bodycolour varies from light yellow-brown to dark greyish-brown. The dark lateral bands on the carapace enclose light spots. The abdomen has two pairs of approximately triangular dark blotches just behind the mid-point which are very characteristic of the species. However, these markings are obscure in older females which become dark greyish-brown at the time they guard their eggsacs. The males are able to produce audible sounds by vibrating the abdomen in order to attract females for mating. The females build retreats on curled leaves of decidouos trees and bushes or on shoots of conifers where they guard their eggsack. Size: Female 5.5-8.5 mm; male 5-7.5 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Subadult male.
Female with egg sack.
Female.
Male, prosoma.
Male palp.
Male.
Male, tibia and metatarsus.
Male.
Male palps.
Male abdominal markings.
Male, note position of spiracle midway between epigastric fold and spinners.
Male, sternum and mouthparts.
Subadult male.
Subadult male, abdominal markings.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Family: Araneidae (Typical Orb Weavers)
The Araneidae is the world’s third largest spider family with more than 2850 species described in more than 165 genera. They range in size from small to large (2-30 mm body size). The species occupy a wide range of habitats and are found in terrestrial ecosystems all over the world with the exception of some high arctic areas, islands and archipelagos. Most species build an orb web with sticky spiral threads but some genera in the tropics have reduced or abandoned web building altogether. The webs are built in the herb layer, in or between bushes and trees and on buildings and possibly in many other places. Some species stay in the hub of the web sometimes camouflaged by a stabilimentum. Other species use a retreat as a hiding place or stay outside the web, in both cases holding a signal thread to detect when prey become tangled in the web. When males become adult they leave their web in search of females. Great care is taken when approaching the female web so the usually larger female does not eat the male. I many species courtship is undertaken by plucking and jerking the female web to suppress predatory behaviour of the female and to have her express mating behaviour instead.
Characters of family: The araneids belong to the group of ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The eyes are arranged in 2 rows of 4 with the lateral eyes widely separated from the medial eyes. The carapace is often flat with a distinct head region. The chelicers are strong having a lateral condyle (boss at base of chelicer). Labium is wider than long and rebordered (swollen at anterior edge). Maxilla (basal part of palp used for chewing prey) are widest anteriorly. Legs with 3 claws and often furnished with strong spines and trichobothria on all segments except tarsi. Often legs are clearly annulated. The abdomen is usually globose and nearly always with species-specific often bright colour patterns. The abdomens of some species are round-shouldered while others have humps, the latter species often referred to as angulate orb weavers. Some tropical species have large outgrows on the abdomen. A colulus (midline appendage or tubercle) is present in front of the anterior spinnerets. The tracheal spiracle is situated close to spinnerets. Araneids belong to the entelegyne group of spiders often having large and complex epigynes sometimes with a large flexible scapus (finger-, tongue-, or lip-like projection arising in the midline of the epigyne). The male palp is complex.
Genus: Agalenatea Archer, 1951
Agalenatea redii (Scopoli, 1763)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female with triangular brown patch on abdomen.
Female with greenish abdominal markings.
Male palp.
Male.
Female abdominal markings.
Genus: Araneus Clerck, 1757 - Angulate and round-shouldered orb weavers
Characters of genus: Small to large large spiders ranging from 2.5 mm to at least 25 mm body length. Posterior medial eyes slightly larger than the rest and separated by one diameter from each other. Anterior medials separated by 2-3 diameters. Height of clypeus ca. 1.5 diameter of one anterior medial eye. Some species have well-developed shoulder humps while other are round-shouldered or possess traces of humps such as Araneus diadematus. There is some sexual dimorphism with males smaller and much slimmer than females, especially gravid ones. Epigyne with large scape originating from base of epigyne. Male palp complex, the shape of embolus and terminal apophysis being the most important characters for separating the species (Almquist 2005).
Araneus angulatus Clerck, 1757
Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial?, Pico?, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Juveniles.
Subadult male.
Juvenile.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male, abdominal humps and characteristic white markings in front of these.
Male, abdominal markings.
Male.
Subadult male.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Argiope Audouin, 1826 - Garden orbweavers
Argiope bruennichi (Scopoli, 1772)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Cocoon.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Gibbaranea Archer, 1951
Gibbaranea occidentalis Wunderlich, 1989
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Genus: Mangora O. P.-Cambridge, 1889
Mangora acalypha (Walckenaer, 1802)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Genus: Neoscona Simon, 1864 - Spottet orbweavers
Neoscona crucifera (Lucas, 1839)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores?, Faial?, Terceira, Santa Maria.
Juvenile, less common colourform.
Juvenile, colourform.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Zygiella F. O. P.-Cambridge, 1902
Characters of genus: Anterior row of eyes recurv, posterior slightly procurved. Median ocular trapezium forms a square. Distance between posterior medians only slightly smaller than the distance to adjacent laterals. Clypeus less than diameter of one anterior medial eye. Dorsum of abdomen usually with a dark bordered folium. Venter and sternum with dark bands.
Zygiella x-notata (Clerck, 1757) - Silver-sided sector spider
Description: Carapace yellowish with dark triangle in head region. Legs yellow with darker annulations. Sternum is also yellow with darker edges. The abdomen is oval with a large silvery folium outlined by sinuous brown bands . Sides vary in colour from light brown to reddish brown. Size: Female 5-9 mm; male 3.6-6 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Family: Clubionidae (Foliage Spiders)
The Clubionidae is relatively species rich encompassing 537 species in 14 genera. They range in size from small to medium (2,5-12 mm body size). The species are found at ground level in open habitats but many species inhabit foliage, branches, and stems of trees. Clubionids spend the daytime in saclike retreats with or without openings. The retreats are placed in folded or rolled up leaves, behind loose bark, under stones or under other objects on the ground. Clubionids leave their retreats during the night to hunt prey as active free-living hunters using no web or snares. They are swift runners having good footing to slippery surfaces due to the adhesive properties of the claw tufts. They take their prey by moving upon it and seizing it with the strong and toothed chelicerae. The female spins a silken sac in which she guards her egg sack. These sacs are larger than retreats and if placed in foliage they are often constructed by bending the leaves together to form a cavity, which is then spun together and sealed with plenty of whitish silk. The family is represented with 3 species on the Azores.
Characters of family: The clubionids are 8-eyed, ecribellate spiders possessing two tarsal claws. The species superficially resemble members of the Gnaphosidae, but the anterior spinners of the clubionids are conical and the posterior median eyes are circular. The sexes are quite similar with the males slightly smaller and often with more elongate and slender chelicers as well as longer legs. The eyes are uniform in size, arranged close to the anterior edge of the carapace in two fairly wide rows each with four eyes. The posterior row is slightly wider than the anterior. The carapace is ovoid, clearly longer than wide and with short, shallow fovea. However, in some species fovea is absent. The sternum is distinctly margined in some species. The chelicers are rather long and stout and the fang furrows are provided with teeth both pro- and retromarginally. Some males have strongly developed chelicerae with a long fang. Also, in many species the chelicers are conspicuously dark. Endites are longer than wide and without the depression seen in gnaphosids. The endites are furnished with a brush of setae (scopulae) on distal end to improve grip of prey. The labium is longer than wide. The body is carried close to the substratum on moderately long, strong legs with normal prograde orientation. The legs are provided with two tarsal claws with dense claw tufts and scopulae giving good adhesion to slippery surfaces such as leaves. The tibia and metatarsi have one, two, or more pairs of spines ventrally. Some species have legs I the longest while other species legs IV. The abdomen is oval often tapering towards the spinners. Males sometimes have a small scutum. The abdomen usually uniformly coloured except for darker cardiac mark. Sometimes there are darker markings such as a median line or chevrons in the same colours as the cardiac mark. The anterior spinners of the clubionids are conical and contiguous and all three pairs form a compact cluster. The spiracle is situated close to the spinners. Clubionids are entelegyne spiders having the genital groove with its openings to the internal genitalia covered by a well-sclerotized plate (epigastric scutum), which also bears the paired copulatory openings. The spermathecae are often visible through the integument. The male palp has a retrolateral tibial apophysis. The shape of the apophysis varies greatly between species and is an important morphological character when identifying the species under the stereomicroscope.
Genus: Clubiona Latreille, 1804 - Leaf curling sac spiders
Characters of genus: Compact, small to medium sized spiders with oval cephalothorax and slightly protruding, broad head. There are two rows of eyes, the eyes of the posterior row widely set apart. It may appear as there are six eyes in the front row since the laterals of both rows are fairly close together. Anterior row recurved. Posterior row straight or slightly recurved. Fovea short, dark and shallow but quite indistinct in species with relatively dense silky hairing on carapace. Labium longer than wide. Maxilla with scopulae. Endites without a transverse or oblique depression. Legs long with leg IV longest. Tarsi with conspicuous scopulae, two-clawed (claws long). Abdomen elongate with sparse to rather dense coverage of silky hairs depending on species. Hues of yellow, orange and brown are the prevailing body colours, sometimes the cardiac mark is darker. A few species have the cardiac mark followed by chevrons. Anterior spinners conical and and situated close together or contiguous. The two sexes do not differ much. Compared to females, males are slightly smaller, often with chelicerae longer and more tapering and the legs are relatively longer.
Clubiona decora Blackwall, 1859
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Clubiona genevensis L. Koch, 1866
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico, Graciosa.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Clubiona terrestris Westring, 1851
Description: Abdomen reddish-brown with darker cardiac mark. Carapace is yellow-brown with head region slightly darker. Size: Female 6-7 mm; male 5-6 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Family: Corinnidae (Ant-like Sac Spiders)
A small family with antlike species previously placed in the Liocranidae or Clubionidae. There is one species on the Azores in the genus Trachelas.
Genus: Metatrachelas Bosselaers & Bosmans, 2010
Metatrachelas macrochelis Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: São Miguel.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Family: Dictynidae (Meshweb Weavers)
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. The family is represented with 4 species each in their own genus on the Azores.
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.
Genus: Altella Simon, 1884
Altella lucida (Simon, 1874)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Terceira.
Genus: Emblyna Chamberlin, 1948
Emblyna acoreensis Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira.
Male.
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.
Lathys dentichelis (Simon, 1883)
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Nigma Lehtinen, 1967
Nigma puella (Simon, 1870)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Family: Dysderidae (Woodlouse Spiders)
There is one species on the Azores in the genus Dysdera/i>.
Characters of family: Six-eyed spiders with the eyes arranged in an oval ring. They are haplogyne without epigynes and the male palpal organs are relatively simple. The legs are stout, without much hair and usually with few or none spines.
Genus: Dysdera Latreille, 1804
Characters of genus: The chelicerae are long and projects forward considerably. They seem well adapted to defeat woodlice.
Dysdera crocata C. L. Koch, 1838
Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male palp.
Family: Filistatidae (Crevice Weavers)
Genus: Filistata Latreille, 1810
Filistata insidiatrix (Forsskl, 1775)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Terceira, São Miguel.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Male.
Male.
Male, note emboli.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Pritha Lehtinen, 1967
Pritha nana (Simon, 1868)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Family: Gnaphosidae (Ground Spiders)
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 mainly found at ground level in open habitats but some species are house spiders, for example Scotophaeus blackwalli in the northern parts of its distributional range. Gnaphosids 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 only active at night, however spiders of the somewhat atypical genus Micaria (subfamily: Micariinae) are diurnal hunters running rapidly about in bright sunshine.The family is represented with 9 species on the Azores.
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. Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, Terceira.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female abdomen.
Female.
Female with egg cocoon.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Genus: Haplodrassus Chamberlin, 1922
Characters of genus: Carapace elongate and fairly low. The brownish cephalothorax have complex black lines. Head much wider than both row of eyes. The posterior medial eyes are larger than the laterals as well as oval and oblique. Posterior row of eyes has the medials closer to each other than to the laterals. Anterior row of eyes straight or slightly recurved while posterior row is procurved. The distance between the outer edges of anterior medial eyes is about the same as the distance between outer edges of posterior medials. Clypeus low about equal to the distance of one anterior medial eye. Fovea short as in the Clubionidae. Chelicerae strong with lateral condyles. Chelicerae with teeht both on promargin and retromargin. Labium longer than wide and angulate where sides meets posterior border.Sternum does not extend between coxae IV. Trochanters smooth. The distal end of metatarsi III and IV is not furnished with a preening comb. Males do not have a scutum. Some species have vague patterns of chevrons on the abdomen, but these patterns are not reliable in separating the species since the variation within species is considerable. Male palp with a tibial apophysis, the shape of which is important for identification. Sometimes the shape is discernible with a lens allowing for identification in the field. The epigyne is often large and females of some species are also identifiable in the field using a lens.
Haplodrassus signifer (C. L. Koch, 1839) - Stealthy ground spider
Description: Carapace greyish brown to dark brown, head gradually darker towards anterior edge in lighter specimens. Chelicerae dark brown. Sternum dark brown. Legs brown. The abdomen is somewhat flattened, brown to blackish. Three pairs of longitudinal short stripes (sigilla?) are sometimes visible on dorsum, the posterior pair oblique. Light, obscure chevrons sometimes present in lighter, mostly female specimens. Males generally darker than females, sometimes nearly black. Size: Female 7-9 mm; male 5-8 mm. Maturity: Habitat: Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Terceira.
Subadult female.
Male.
Female before oviposition.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Leptodrassus Simon, 1878
Leptodrassus albidus Simon, 1914
Origin: Introduced. Range: Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Micaria Westring, 1851
Characters of genus: This genus has previously been assigned to the Clubionidae by some workers. A depression across the endites and the often oval posterior medial eyes has resulted in its present status as a gnaphosid genus. Tne cephalothorax and abdomen is covered with flattened dark scales, usually iridecent and sometimes with contrasting white spots or stripes. Slim, antlike spiders running rapidly over the ground in dry and warm places.
Micaria pallipes (Lucas, 1846)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Santa Maria.
Genus: Scotophaeus Simon, 1893
Characters of genus: This genus has three species in Northern Europe of which two occur in Denmark. The abdomen is without a pattern and appear greasy silverish-grey due to the short, dense grey hairs. The males have a conspicious brown abdominal scutum, but is small and therefore not clearly visible for the commonest species of the genus, S. blackwalli. The posterior medial eyes are circular and slightly closer to another than to the laterals. Height of clypeus about the same as the diameter of an anterior medial eye. In Northern Europe the species are found exclusively within houses where they wander about at nighttime.
Scotophaeus blackwalli (Thorell, 1871)
Description: This species is also known under the name Herpyllus blackwalli. Males slightly smaller than females, otherwise the sexes are similar. The cephalothorax and legs are orange brown covered with grey hairs. Size: Female 9-12 mm; male 7-10 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Subadult female.
Typical cylindrical Gnaphosid spinnerets.
Female.
Female abdomen.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Trachyzelotes Lohmander, 1944
Trachyzelotes lyonneti (Audouin, 1826)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Graciosa, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Palp.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Zelotes Gistel, 1848
Characters of genus: Brownish-black to black spiders without markings. Resemble dark species of Drassyllus. Posterior medial eyes are of about the the same size as the laterals. Posterior eyerow is straight, rarely procurved and eyes equidistant. The eye rows are short due to a narrow head region, the width of an eyerow less than one third of the width of the carapace at its widest point. The carapace is usually shiny and shinier than the abdomen. Some species of the genus have been moved to other genera probably because it used to be species rich with more than fifty species known from France. Several species are almost identical and needs microscopic examination of the genitialia to be separated with certainity. Some species may in some cases be identified by the markings on the legs.
Zelotes aeneus (Simon, 1878)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Terceira, Santa Maria.
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Zelotes longipes (L. Koch, 1866)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Eggsack.
Zelotes tenuis (L. Koch, 1866)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Santa Maria.
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Family: Linyphiidae (Line Weaving Spiders)
The linyphiids is the worlds second largest spider family encompassing ca. 4320 species in more than 570 genera. The highest diversity is found in the northern temperate regions. In these regions as well as in the arctic regions this family is the dominating family. The largest spider family of the world, the salticids, are less numerous in these regions as they generally require warmer conditions than the linyphiids and for this reason the majority of salticid species are tropical, or subtropical. Linyphiids are found worldwide in all terrestrial biotopes and is perhaps the most widely distributed spider family. The linyphiids range in size from very small to medium (1-8.5 mm body size). Most species are found at ground level but they occupy a very wide array of habitats. They build a sheet or dome shaped web. The web has no retreat and the spider always hang inverted below the sheet. Larger species in particular sometimes add irregular vertical snares acting both as sheet suspension strands and barrage balloons impeding the flight of insects. When insects strike the vertical snares they fall down on the sheet where the spider bites the prey through the sheet web. Many species disperse by air and the phenomenon of ballooning is very noticeable in this family when very dense populations try to balloon at the same time. The spiders climb up high in the vegetation and point the spinners toward the sky. In this position they let out some strands of silk and eventually the wind will lift the spiders up in the air. Often they only manage to fly a short distance but they will keep trying with the result that a layer of shimmering silk covers the vegetation. Ballooning takes place usually in late summer.
Characters of family: The linyphiids belong to the group of ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The eyes are arranged in 2 rows of 4, usually heterogeneous in size with the anterior medials smaller than the rest. Frequently, the eyes are ringed with black, this being most noticeable in species with lighter coloured carapaces such as many species of the Linyphiinae subfamily. Some species adapted to dark habitats have the eyes much reduced, sometimes being very minute in size or only evidenced by pale markings under the integument (e.g. Porrhomma rosenhauri). The carapace is highly variable especially in the smaller species belonging to the Erigoninae subfamily. Males of this large subfamily frequently have the frontal region modified into strangely formed lobes or bear other types of protuberances some of which may have tufts of hairs. Some species have the carapace punctured with pits (see images of Lophomma punctatum). The males may also have sulci (grooves) running backwards from the posterior eyes. The chelicerae do not possess a lateral condyle (boss at base of chelicer). The outer side of the chelicerae have horizontal stridulating ridges visible in many species. Such ridges only occur scattered in other spider families (see for example images of ridges in Metellina stridulans of the Tetragnathidae). The labium is strongly rebordered as in the Nesticidae, Araneidae, and Tetragnathidae. The endites are usually parallel. Legs are slender and provided with spines. The number of spines on the legs is an important character for species identification when this is undertaken using the stereomicroscope. The abdomen is nearly always longer than wide sometimes with a pattern (Linyphiinae in particular) and sometimes mainly uniformly coloured, very often blackish (Erigoninae in particular). Some species posses an abdominal scutum as for example some members of the Ceratinella genus. The epigynes are variable, sometimes simple as in the Erigoninae or provided with a scapus as often seen in the Linyphiinae. The male palp often possesses an U-shaped paracymbium. The family was earlier divided in to two subfamilies, which sometimes were elevated to family status: the Linyphiidae and Erigonidae (also known as Micryphantidae). The Linyphiidae was characterized by not having tibial apophyses on the male palp, by having a claw on the female palp in most species, and by having two dorsal spines on tibia IV or if only one spine present there was one short spine on metatarsi I and II. The Erigonidae was characterized by having at least one tibial apophyses on the male palp, by lacking a claw on the female palp, and by having just a single dorsal spine on tibia IV and with the metatarsi spineless, or all spines lacking altogether. However, the family is now divided in to seven subfamilies, the Dubiaraneinae, Erigoninae, Ipainae, Linyphiinae, Micronetinae, Mynogleninae, and Stemonyphantinae. Consult recent literature or Wikipedia for lists of subfamily genera. See also Linyphiid Spiders Of The World by Andrei Tanasevitch and LinyGen: Linyphioid Genera of the World (Pimoidae and Linyphiidae) by Gustavo Hormiga, Dimitar Dimitrov, Jeremy A. Miller and Fernando Alvarez-Padilla.
Genus: Acorigone Wunderlich, 2008
Acorigone acoreensis (Wunderlich, 1992)
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Acorigone zebraneus Wunderlich, 2008
Origin: Endemic. Range: São Jorge.
Female.
Genus: Agyneta Hull, 1911
Characters of genus: Posterior eyes of approximately similar size (Locket & Millidge, 1953). Tm I = 0.65-0.9. With a trichobothrium on metatarsus IV. Lateral spines on Tibia I and II absent.
Agyneta decora (O. P.-Cambridge, 1871)
Description: Carapace brown. Abdomen grey to black. Legs brown with tibiae and metatarsi darker. Female with strongly swollen palps. Male palp elevated dorsally, appearing subquadratic in lateral view. Size: Female 1.8-2.5 mm; male 1.8-2.0 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, São Jorge, Terceira.
Epigyne.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Agyneta rugosa Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Endemic. Range: Faial, São Miguel.
Female.
Genus: Entelecara Simon, 1884
Characters of genus: Most species are rather similar in general appearance. Males have the head region domed. Female tibiae I-II with two spines, III-IV with just one. In males spines are much reduced, usually absent altogether from tibiae I-II (Locket & Millidge 1953). Metatarsus IV with a trichobothrium in most species. Male palp with two prominent tibial apophyses.
Entelecara schmitzi Kulczynski, 1905
Origin: Native. Range: Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Epigyne.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Erigone Audouin, 1826
Characters of genus: Edges of carapace strongly dentate in males, less so in females. Male head domed, but not raised in to a lobe. The chelicers are robust and furnished with warts and teeth anteriorly being more strongly developed in males than in females. Tibiae I-III with two spines, IV with just one. Metatarsi slightly longer than tarsi: leg I: 1.3-1.4 times, leg IV: ca.1.6 times (Locket & Millidge 1953). Male palp with characteristic large ventral patellar apophysis at the distal end. Palpal femur often with ventral knobs and teeth along length.
Erigone atra Blackwall, 1833
Description: Carapace dark brown to black with dentate edges prominent in males but usually absent in females. Male chelicerae with only a few minute warts. Male palpal femur with teeth extending to about two thirds of its length. Male palpal tibia without a ventral tooth. Female abdomen brown to black, male abdomen dark brown to black. Legs yellow-brown to brown. Size: Female 2.0-2.6 mm; male 1.9-2.5 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Erigone autumnalis Emerton, 1882
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Epigyne.
Erigone dentipalpis (Wider, 1834)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Erigone promiscua (O. P.-Cambridge, 1873)
Description: A rather small species. Carapace dark brown to black with dentate edges prominent in males but usually absent in females. Male palpal femur with teeth extending to about two thirds of its length. Male palpal tibia with a small ventral tooth. Female abdomen brown to black, male abdomen dark brown to black. Legs yellow-brown to brown. Size: Female 1.8-2.5 mm; male 1.9-2.4 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Lepthyphantes Menge, 1866
Characters of genus: Medium to large linyphiids ranging form 2.5 to 4.5 mm body length (Saaristo & Tanasevitch 1996). Legs clearly annulated in European species. Tm IV without trichobothrium. Abdomen with a distinct pattern, usually composed of broad black transverse markings formed as bars, bands or chevrons on a grey background. Abdomens may be dotted with some whitish spots. Males are characterized by the sickle-shaped embolus with tight sulcus and large carina (not visible with a hand lens). Epigynes wit large scape arising from the inside of the epigynal cavity. Note that there is some disagreements on the delineation of the genus. The genus description here is based on a narrow conception as given by Saaristo & Tanasevitch (1996).
Lepthyphantes acoreensis Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Palp and epigyne.
Genus: Lessertia Smith, 1908
Lessertia dentichelis (Simon, 1884)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Palp.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Meioneta Hull, 1920
Characters of genus: Posterior eyes of approximately similar size or medians larger than laterals (Locket & Millidge 1953). Tm I = ca. 0.20-0.30. Some species possess lateral spines on Tibia I and II. Without a trichobothrium on metatarsus IV. Meioneta share some morphological traits with Agyneta (see genus description for Agyneta).
Meioneta depigmentata (Wunderlich, 2008)
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores.
Female.
Meioneta fuscipalpa (C. L. Koch, 1836)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Palp and epigyne.
Meioneta rurestris (C. L. Koch, 1836)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Mermessus O. P.-Cambridge, 1899
Mermessus bryantae (Ivie & Barrows, 1935)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel.
Palp.
Male.
Mermessus fradeorum (Berland, 1932)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Palp and epigyne.
Mermessus trilobatus (Emerton, 1882)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel.
Genus: Microctenonyx Dahl, 1886
Microctenonyx subitaneus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1875)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico, Graciosa, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Microlinyphia Gerhardt, 1928
Characters of genus: Medium sized spiders 2.8-4.6 mm, larger species are found outside Europe (van Helsdingen 1970). This species displays a large sexual dimorphism. Cephalothorax of male is longer and narrower than in female. Abdomen tubular in male and usually dark while more oblong and lighter coloured in females. Posterior medial eyes on black tubercles. Lateral eyes contiguous. Legs long and slender, most noticeable in males. Embolus long and thread-like in European species, easily visible with a lens. The chelicerae in males are long, more than half the length of the cephalothorax and inclined somewhat backwards. The epigyne is small, inconspicuous and consists of an arch anterior to the openings and a small scape-like protrusion. The arch is dark and barely more sclerotized than surrounding area.
Microlinyphia johnsoni (Blackwall, 1859)
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Egg sack, covering silk removed showing content of 14 eggs.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Microneta Menge, 1869
Microneta viaria (Blackwall, 1841)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Minicia Thorell, 1875
Minicia floresensis Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel.
Subadult male.
Genus: Neriene Blackwall, 1833
Neriene clathrata (Sundevall, 1830)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Terceira.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female, venter.
Female, stridulation ridges on chelicers.
Female, tibia IV.
Female, feeding.
Female.
Palp.
Male.
Genus: Oedothorax Bertkau, in Förster & Bertkau, 1883
Oedothorax fuscus (Blackwall, 1834)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male with parasitic mites.
Male with gravid parasitic mite.
Male with mite taking a stroll up the spiders femur.
Genus: Ostearius (Hull, 1911)
Characters of genus: All tibia with two dorsal spines but no lateral spines. Metatarsus IV about twice as long as tarsus IV. Male palp with tibial apophysis.
Ostearius melanopygius (O. P.-Cambridge, 1879) - Midget spider
Description: The carapace is dark brown to black not elevated in males. Legs are reddish brown and fairly long. Femur I is shorter than the carapace. Metatarsus IV is about twice as long as tarsus IV, but the metatarsi are shorter than the tibiae. The clypeus is slightly concave. The male chelicerae is provided with a strong pointed conical tubercle with a bristle at its tip. The chelicerae is thickened at the base and provided with conspicuous stridulating striae on the lateral sides. The tibial apophysis is bidentate and the epigyne lacks a free scape. The abdomen is reddish with a black area around the spinners. Size: Female 2.0-2.6 mm; male 2.0-2.5 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Characteristic black spot at rear.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Palliduphantes Saaristo & Tanasevitch, 2001
Characters of genus: Small to medium sized linyphiids having body lengths ranging from 1.30-2.95 mm, but species larger than 2.5 mm are few (Saaristo & Tanasevitch 2001). Pale coloured spiders, the cephalothorax and appendages range in colour from pale yellow to pale orange and the unicoloured abdomen from pale yellow to grey or greyish brown, sometimes with a greenish tinge or a faint pattern of transverse stripes or chevrons. Legs with few spines. Metatarsus IV is without a trichobotrium.
Palliduphantes schmitzi (Kulczynski, 1899)
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Genus: Parapelecopsis Wunderlich, 1992
Parapelecopsis nemoralioides (O. P.-Cambridge, 1884)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico, Terceira, São Miguel.
Genus: Pelecopsis Simon, 1864
Pelecopsis parallela (Wider, 1834)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Porrhomma Simon, 1884
Characters of genus: There is no recent revision of the genus available. The description here is based on Locket & Millidge (1953), and Borges & Wunderlich (2008). Ocular area with some forward projecting hairs, most pronounced in males. Eyes are variable in size, in some species minute or absent. Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium. The species differ in leg spination, a character that is useful for grouping the species aiding identification. Male palp with no tibial apophysis. Some species possess stridulating files on coxa I while these are reduced or absent in others. The latter case is considered a derived (apomorphic) character of the genus. Tm I of British species range between 0.3-0.64 (Roberts 1987).
Porrhomma borgesi Wunderlich, 2008
Origin: Endemic. Range: Pico, Terceira, São Miguel.
Female.
Palp and epigyne.
Genus: Prinerigone Millidge, 1988
Prinerigone vagans (Audouin, 1826)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Savigniorrhipis Wunderlich, 1992
Savigniorrhipis acoreensis Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Genus: Tenuiphantes Saaristo & Tanasevitch, 1996
Characters of genus: Small to large linyphiids ranging from 1.7-4.1 mm body length (Saaristo & Tanasevitch 1996). Males are characterized by having a sinuous embolus, often with a dentigerous protrusion at about halfway while females are characterized by having the proscapus bordered at either side by a lateral wing-like extension of the median part of the scapus (Saaristo & Tanasevitch 1996). Epigynes of T. alacris females also characterized by strongly developed lateral teeth. Paracymbium with 0-3 teeth. The species differ in leg spination. Metatarsus without a trichobothrium except in T. retezaticus (endemic to Romania). Most species have uniformly coloured legs and a dark dorsal pattern on the abdomen usually composed of broad black transverse bars on a brownish background. Bars sometimes reduced to paired dots combined by thin black lines. Dorsal pattern is usually more obscure in males. Legs fairly long and with long spines.
Tenuiphantes miguelensis (Wunderlich, 1992)
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Tenuiphantes tenuis (Blackwall, 1852)
Description: Carapace brown to blackish. Anterior medials almost equidistant, with medials separated from laterals by ca. 0.5 diameter, laterals much less than twice the diameters of medials (Locket & Millidge 1953). Sternum blackish. Legs yellow-brown, fairly long and with long spines. TM 1 ca. 0.18-0.22 (Roberts 1987). Abdomen yellow-brown to almost black. Usually, dark transverse bars are present dorsally but they may be difficult to discern in specimens with dark background colours. Bars are often reduced to paired dots which may be combined by thin U- or V-bent black lines. Shining white patches are sometimes distributed across the dorsal surface of the abdomen, at other times mostly at sides if not absent completely. Epigyne anchor shaped, male palp with two teeth at each side of the paracymbium. Size: Female 2.0-3.2 mm; male 2.0-2.7 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female, killed by parasitic larva shortly after final moult.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Turinyphia van Helsdingen, 1982
Turinyphia cavernicola Wunderlich, 2008
Origin: Endemic. Range: Terceira.
Genus: Typhochrestus Simon, 1884
Typhochrestus acoreensis Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Endemic. Range: Terceira.
Genus: Walckenaeria Blackwall, 1833
Characters of genus: The members of this genus range in size from 1.35 to 4.0 mm (Millidge 1983). The male carapace in most European species is elevated, often into large lobes or modified in some other way. However, in a few species such as in W. dysderoides the male head is only slightly domed behind the eyes. Where there is a lobe this carries the posterior median eyes (Millidge 1983). In other species the male carapaces carries a projection, often furnished with hairs which may be clavate or furcated. More rarely is the carapace of the female elevated, such as in W. acuminata which carries a conical elevation. The sternum is longer than wide with the posterior end pointed between coxae IV (Locket & Millidge 1953). The pedicel is distinctly sclerotized and is quite conspicuous in some species. The abdomen is without a scutum and is unicoloured in most species, usually greyish black but occasionally light grey or yellowish brown. Tibia I and II carries two spines while III and IV carries one in the European species. Legs are unicoloured in most species, often bright orange or reddish orange. Some species have contrastingly blackened tibiae on anterior leg pairs. Spines are weak, particularly on legs I and II in males (Millidge 1983). All metatarsi with a trichobothrium, Tm I variable, ranging from 0.39-0.76 in British species (Roberts 1987). The male palpal organs are of similar form and differences are not discernible with a hand lens. Females of a few species possess characteristic epigynes which makes them identifiable in the field using a hand lens. Other characteristics of the genus (not visible with a lens) include the strongly pectinate and large superior tarsal claws of legs I and II, clear transverse striae on the lateral faces of the chelicerae and the acuminate tarsus of the female palp (Locket & Millidge 1953, Millidge 1983). The European members of the genus have been reviewed by Wunderlich (1972) and the North American by Millidge (1983).
Walckenaeria grandis (Wunderlich, 1992)
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira.
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Walckenaeria unicornis O. P.-Cambridge, 1861
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Family: Lycosidae (Wolf Spiders)
The Lycosidae is the fourth largest spider family of the world encompassing ca 2320 species in 7 subfamilies and 107 genera. They range in size from small to very large (2.8-45 mm body size). Most species are hunting spiders at ground level using no web for catching prey. However spiders of a few genera such as Aulonia and Sosippus make sheet webs provided with a funnel retreat, very similar to the webs of agelenid spiders. Spiders of some lycosid genera make burrows in the ground lined with silk serving as retreats and a place for the females to guard their egg sacks, e.g. species of Alopecosa, Trochosa, and Arctosa. Spiders of the Pirata genus make silk tubes in vegetation where they spend part of their time. Many other lycosids never use a retreat but are found running about in grass, leaf litter, over sandy or stony areas, across the surface of water and many other places. Wolf spiders are often very noticeable as many are active during daylight hours running about in sunshine hunting prey on the ground or in low vegetation. The females of some species attach the globular egg sack to the spinners, which is then carried about. After the juvenile spiders emerge from the egg sack they will climb up on to the mothers abdomen making it appear much larger. The spiderlings will stay well protected on the abdomen for several days or even weeks. Eventually they disperse and start a life on their own. The family is represented with two species on the Azores, one of which is endemic.
Characters of family: The lycosids belong to the group of araneomorph, ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The eyes are all dark in colour and arranged in three rows in a characteristic fashion. The anterior row has four small eyes set in a straight or slightly curved row, the second row has two large eyes further up on the on the vertical front, and the posterior row has two medium-sized eyes on the sides of the head which can be more or less steep sided. There are only few additional diagnostic characters of importance for the family, i.e. the lack of a retrolateral tibial apophysis on the male palp and that the female of many species carries her egg sack attached to the spinners. The carapace is longer than wide with the head region narrowed and high. It is usually densely covered with hairs and often with longitudinal median or lateral bands or both. In some genera there are characteristic bars in the median band or elongate U-, Y-shaped marks. The sternum is oval to shield shaped (scutiform). The chelicerae are relatively strong with toothed cheliceral furrow and prominent lateral condyle (boss). The labium is a wide as long, about half the length of endites. Legs are spinose and provided with 3 tarsal claws, usually with scopulae for adhesion. The second segments of the legs (trochanters) are notched. The abdomen is oval, always covered with dense hairs. There is no colulus in front of the spinners. The tracheal spiracle is situated just in front of the spinners. The epigyne is well sclerotized median septum which may be large and plate-like. The male palp is only rarely provided with a tibial apophysis. The tip of the male palp may have one or more claws.
Genus: Arctosa C. L. Koch, 1847 - Bear-spiders
Characters of genus: Medium-sized to large spiders characterized by a rather flattened carapace without clear median band, and with the eyes directed somewhat upwards. Most species lack longitudinal bands, and are well-camouflaged against the substrate. Legs with clear annulations or distinct spots. Males rather similar to females in general appearance. Depending on habitat, the species make burrows in sand, moss, detritus or under stones, but specimens are also frequently seen running about.
Arctosa perita (Latreille, 1799)
Description: Carapace brown to black with white spots behind the posterior eyes followed by smaller spots which together constitute irregular and broken lateral bands. Abdomen gaudy and variable. Often with grey cardiac mark flanked by pink or orange red areas, followed by a pair of small white dots. Rear half with thin black transverse lines and a pair of large white spots followed by some smaller pairs. Legs with very distinct annulations, except for light tarsi. Size: Female 8-9 mm; male 7-8 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, Terceira, São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Genus: Pardosa C. L. Koch, 1847 - Thinlegged wolf spiders
Characters of genus: Pardosa is distinguished from other Lycosid genera by the height of clypeus being at least twice the diameter of a anterior lateral eye, and by the head having almost vertical sides when viewed from in front. Fairly small, slender species, usually with a light median band on the carapace. The genus contains a large number of species, many of which are both common and abundant. They are active during the day, and often very noticeable when running in the sunshine or basking in exposed places. Some species cannot be identified on the basis of the general appearance, and require microscopic examination of the genitals for proper identification.
Pardosa acorensis Simon, 1883
Origin: Endemic. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Family: Mimetidae (Pirate Spiders)
Characters of family: Metatarsi I and II are furnished with a prolateral row of spines. In between the spines there are series of smaller curved spines, which increase in length distally.
Genus: Ero C. L. Koch, 1836
Characters of genus: The species of this genus resemble comb-footed spiders (Theridiidae) due to their globular abdomen, which is higher than long. The abdomen bears one or two pairs of conical tubercles. The dorsal parts of the abdomen are furnished with curved bristle-like hairs. The anterior medial eyes projects on a small tubercle. The distance between the anterior edge of the carapace and the anterior medial eyes (height of clypeus) is about the same as the distance between the anterior and posterior medial eyes. The length of leg I is slightly less than 1⅓ times that of leg IV. The two commonest Danish species of the genus, E. furcata and E. cambridgei, are difficult to separate as they overlap both in general appearance and habitat. The carapaces of the species are light yellowish brown with variable blackish lateral bands, which often reach the margins. I the midline and especially the eye region there are additional irregular blackish markings. Since these markings on the carapace are quite similar for the species, they are not useful for separating the species. The egg sacks of Ero are very characteristic. The more or less egg-shaped sack is about 4 mm in diameter, and made of yellowish brown silk which is surrounded by loosely woven silk of a darker colour giving the sack a woolly appearance. The sack is suspended by a cord of silk about 1-2 cm long, typically fastened to vegetation, including branches and bark of trees. The sacks are not guarded but abandoned by the female, which set out for more prey to be able to produce more egg sacks. Since Ero species are nocturnal, and remain hidden during the daytime, the egg sacks often reveal the presence of the species before specimens are found.
Ero aphana (Walckenaer, 1802)
Description: Abdomen overall whitish with brown spots. There are two pairs of conical tubercles of which the posterior pair usually is slightly larger than the anterior pair. This character separates the species from E. tuberculata in which species the two pairs of tubercles differ clearly in size. Sternum dark with droplet-shaped radiating light markings in posterior half and a larger irregular light marking in the anterior half. Size: Female 2.5-3.2 mm; male 2.4-2.6 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Terceira.
Male.
Female.
Subadult male (id?).
Subadult male (id?).
Abdominal markings, subadult male (id?).
Subadult male (id?).
Subadult male (id?).
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Ero flammeola Simon, 1881
Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Ero furcata (Villers, 1789)
Description: Very similar to E. cambridgeiin overall appearance, including abdominal markings. However, the area in front of the anterior tubercles is often darker in this species. Abdomen has one pair of rather small tubercles. Sternum is brown with a lighter marking in midline that branch off to sides at rear. Size: Female 3.0-3.4 mm; male 2.4-2.6 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Eggsack backlighted, showing content of three eggs.
Eggsack.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female, abdominal markings.
Family: Miturgidae (Prowling Spiders)
Genus: Cheiracanthium C. L. Koch, 1839 - Longlegged sac spiders
Characters of genus: The males of the genus resemble females but are slimmer and have longer chelicerae. The body colours are various hues of yellow, orange, brown and green. They are swift nocturnal hunters on foliage and surefooted due to dense claw tufts composed of many flattened setae.
Cheiracanthium erraticum (Walckenaer, 1802)
Description: Light brown cephalothorax, sparsesly covered by thin light hairs. The abdomen has greyish sides and a wide ligth yellow median band enclosing a purple red median stripe. Legs are light brown. Males are smaller and slimmer than females, and with a clearer colouration. Retreats are built in the top of vegetation such as grasses and heather. The spider spend the daytime in the retreat which is also used for oviposition. Size: Female 7-8 mm; male 5-6 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
This male was found in the female’s silken cell built in the top of a heather bush..
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Cheiracanthium floresense Wunderlich, 2008
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores.
Male.
Cheiracanthium jorgeense Wunderlich, 2008
Origin: Endemic. Range: São Jorge.
Male.
Cheiracanthium mildei L. Koch, 1864
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, São Miguel.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Family: Nesticidae (Comb-footed Cellar Spiders)
Characters of family: The spiders of the family Nesticidae are closely related to the Theridiidae (comb-footed spiders). Most specimens of both families have a comb of 6-10 serrated bristles on tarsus IV that are used to pull silk from the spinnerets. The Nesticids differ from the Theridiids by having a thickened edge on the anterior rim of the lower lip (rebordered labium), and by having longer legs, particularly the first pair. The legs are densely clothed with fairly long bristles, longer than in any theridiid. Leg spines are few, and differ only scarcely from the leg bristles. The eight eyes of the Nesticids are arranged in two rows of four.
Genus: Eidmannella Roewer, 1935
Eidmannella pallida (Emerton, 1875)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Family: Oecobiidae (Starlegged Spiders)
Characters of family: Small to medium-sized spiders with six or eight eyes.
Genus: Oecobius Lucas, 1846
Characters of genus: Small spiders, mostly less than 3 mm, producing hackled band threads from a transverse oriented spinning organ in front of the spinnerets (cribellum). Carapace subcircular. Posterior eyes triangular or irregular in shape. Anal tubercle prominent, two-segmented and furnished with a fringe of long hairs. The spiders spins flat retreats with a diameter of a few cm with lateral openings from which signaling threads protrude. The threads detect prey that stumbles over these threads and if the spider is hungry it will rush out for the catch. Webs are built in crevices such as under rocks and floors, behind walls and in ceilings. There are 43 species in Oecobius of which 42 are known from Europe. However, only five species are known from the European mainland, four of which are confined to southern Europe. Thirty-six species are endemic for the Canary Islands and Madeira with most of those species being Canarian. Two species are cosmopolitan, O. cellariorum and O. navus. The latter is the only species occurring in central and northern Europe.
Oecobius navus Blackwall, 1859 - Urban Wall Spider
Description: Carapace is light coloured with blackish, irregular lines or markings along margins and dark markings in eye region. Legs pale, translucent, however with more or less pronounced dark annulations. Abdomen light grey and greyish brown with dark brown patches of varying sizes. Size: 2-3 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, Pico, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Subadult male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Male.
Oecobius similis Kulczynski, 1909
Origin: Native. Range: Corvo, Flores, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male, abdominal markings.
Male.
Family: Oonopidae (Dwarf Cell Spiders)
Characters of family: The members of this family are rather small, about 2 mm in body length. They have only six, relatively large eyes that are virtually contigous and situated on a narrow head, marginally wider than the eyegroup. The species are generally coloured in shades of red, pink and orange.
Genus: Oonops Templeton, 1835
Characters of genus: The number of paired spines on Tibia I separates the species with O. domesticus having five pairs and O. pulcher having just four.
Oonops domesticus Dalmas, 1916
Description: Oonops domesticus is easily recognised by its red colour and way of walking, which alternates between slow walks and short runs. This is particularly evident if the spider is gently disturbed. The species is one of only about five Danish spiders with six eyes, the remaining more than 500 species having eight. The eyes of Oonops domesticus are pearly indicating this is a nocturnal species. Size: Female 2 mm; male 1.5 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Orchestina Simon, 1882
Orchestina furcillata Wunderlich, 2008
Origin: Endemic. Range: São Miguel.
Family: Pholcidae (Cellar Spiders)
The Pholcidae is the ninth largest spider family of the world encompassing ca 969 species and 81 genera. They range in size from very small to medium-sized (1-10 mm body size), usually with long legs that may exceed 60 mm in some species. The species occupy a wide range of habitats and are found all over the world except for some islands and arctic regions. The occurrence of pholcids in many temperate regions is due to a gradual spreading of mainly synanthropic species to cooler regions. Pholcus phalangioides serves as an example and is now almost cosmopolitan in distribution. This species inhabit houses in most parts of the world and since it is independent of the climate outdoors it will probably continue to increase its range given there are heated buildings to occupy and enough prey to feed on during the cold season. Other synanthropic species that have increased their range in Europe include Crossopriza lyoni and Holocnemus pluchei. Perhaps global warming has influenced the spread, which mainly have taken place in recent decades. Also the species Pholcus opilionoides occurring in natural and semi-natural habitats has increased its range northwards in Europe. Pholcids build three-dimensional messy, irregular, tangled webs in which they hang inverted on the under surface of the web. The webs are often constructed in dark and damp niches such as buildings and cellars, in caves, behind loose bark, in cavities between boulders, under rocks and other objects on the ground and in burrows. The web has no viscid properties but the criss-cross structure delay the escape of insects entangled in the web. The spider quickly advance to wrap its prey in silk and when securely wrapped the spider is able to inflict the fatal bite without any risk. Some species feed on other spiders even of their own kin. In my house I have observed Pholcus phalangioides to prey on spiders of its own species and large, stout species such as Amaurobius similis and Scotophaeus blackwalli. The species is also known to prey on other common house spiders of the northern temperate regions such as species of Tegenaria. I once interrupted the capture of a Salticus scenius female before the fatal bite. The salticid was completely wrapped in silk but nevertheless able to bite its way out and escape still going strong. If food is scarce some pholcids will leave their web and invade the webs of other spiders with the purpose of eating the host, the eggs, or the prey. They vibrate the web to mimic the struggle of trapped prey as an attempt to lure the host of the web to approach, unaware of it will be attacked. This is very much similar to the technique used by the pirate spiders (Mimetidae). When a pholcid is threatened the spider will spin itself in small circles so rapidly that the contours of the spider becomes blurred or almost invisible. This behaviour is possibly an effort to minimize the chance of it falling prey to predators passing by. If the spider continues to feel threatened it may drop from the web and walk away in an unsteady, wobbling fashion. Despite the clumsy pace it is nevertheless able to climb vertical surfaces. After the mating the female sits inverted in her web carrying her eggs in her chelicerae. The eggs are loosely held together by a few strands of silk. The male will often stay nearby the female until he dies. Females often live for more years than males and may mate again with another male. After hatching the spiderlings are either carried by the female for a few days where after they stay in the web guarded by the female. Eventually they will disperse to start a life on their own. The three northern European genera are easily separated by the shape and colour of their abdomens which is long and tubular in Pholcus and Holocnemus but globular in Psilochorus. The two former genera are distinguished by the colour of the ventral side of their abdomens which is light in the two Pholcus species, but black in Holocnemus pluchei. There is just one introduced Azorean species, Pholcus phalangioides which cannot be mistaken for any other species on the islands.
Characters of family: The pholcids belong to the group of araneomorph, ecribellate spider families having 6 or 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The anterior medials are smallest or absent in six-eyed species. The secondary eyes are arranged in two triads, which in some species are placed on tubercles. Other diagnostic characters for the family include the high, often concave clypeus of about the same height as the chelicerae and the usually very long legs with long and flexible tarsi with many pseudosegments. The carapace is subcircular with the head region often raised. In some species fovea is well developed. The sternum is convex often with sinuous sides, broadly truncated at rear. The chelicers are relatively weak and fused along the greater part of length. Males often have the chelicerae armed with teeth-like outgrowths. The labium is wider than long and fused with sternum. The female palp is small, slender and is not provided with a claw or tooth. The shape of the abdomen varies from globose to elongated cylindrical. The most common colours of the abdomen range between pale grey and darker brownish-grey. Psilochorus simoni has a bluish-green or blue abdomen. In some species a cardiac mark is clearly visible while in others this mark is just faintly darker than the ground colour of the abdomen. Many species also possess darker chevrons, bandings or blotches mainly in the midline of the abdomen. The abdomen of Holocnemus pluchei is reticulated very much like a giraffe. In some genera the spinners are situated ventrally and moved forward to a position near the epigastric furrow. There is no tracheal spiracle. Despite being haplogyne, pholcids do have the internal female genitalia protected by an epigyne like sclerotization. These are rather variable and allow pholcids to be identified from drawings of epigynes with the same ease as entelegyne spiders. The male palp is very complex having swollen palp segments and a large paracymbium.
Genus: Pholcus Walckenaer, 1805
Characters of genus: Abdomen elongate, more than twice as long as wide, and more than twice the length of the abdomen.
Pholcus phalangioides (Fuesslin, 1775) - Longbodied cellar spider
Description: The abdomen is tubular, greyish-brown with some paired darker spots dorsally. The cephalothorax is yellowish-brown with a darker, central area. The legs have no spines but have long, fine hairs neatly arranged in longitudinal rows. Size: Female 8-10 mm; male 7-9 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male, note the characteristic arrangement of the eyes.
Male.
Male, venter.
Male, note the complex structures of the palp.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Palp and epigyne.
Family: Pisauridae (Nursery-web Spiders)
Genus: Pisaura Simon, 1885
Characters of genus: The species has a very characteristic appearance with a slender tapering abdomen.
Pisaura acoreensis Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female with eggsack.
Family: Salticidae (Jumping spiders)
Characters of family: Small to medium-sized, shortlegged spiders easily recognizable by the characteristic eyes arranged in three rows. The anterior row of eyes is situated on a more or less vertical face, the medians being very large, the laterals somewhat smaller and set higher on the head. The second row of eyes consists of two very small, often minute or vestigial eyes set further back on the head. The two eyes of the posterior row are about the same size as the anterior laterals, and are set about halfway back on the carapace at the edges of the head. The anterior medians are highly sophisticated providing acute vision used to leap accurately while moving around as well as capturing prey and escape efforts.
Genus: Bianor Peckham & Peckham, 1886
Bianor wunderlichi Logunov, 2001
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: Terceira.
Genus: Chalcoscirtus Bertkau, 1880
Chalcoscirtus infimus (Simon, 1868)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Heliophanus C. L. Koch, 1833
Characters of genus: These are dark, blackish spiders, usually with metallic sheen in green, violet or coppery colours. Some species are furnished with white bands or spots on the abdomen composed of white squamose hairs. The palps of the females are ligth brown in contrast to the overall dark appearance of the spider. The male palps are dark but furnished with white squamose hairs on forward directed surfaces. Some species have legs in light yellow colours while other have dark legs with white squamose hairs.
Heliophanus kochii Simon, 1868
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Macaroeris Wunderlich, 1992
Macaroeris cata (Blackwall, 1867)
Origin: Native. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Male.
Macaroeris diligens (Blackwall, 1867)
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: Terceira.
Male.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Palp.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Menemerus Simon, 1868
Menemerus semilimbatus (Hahn, 1829)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Neon Simon, 1876
Characters of genus: Small spiders which are fairly easily identified to genus-level due to the relatively large protuberant posterior eyes situated rather far back on the carapace. The epigynes of the females are large compared to the size of the spider.
Neon acoreensis Wunderlich, 2008
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Genus: Phidippus C. L. Koch, 1846
Phidippus audax (Hentz, 1845)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Santa Maria.
Genus: Pseudeuophrys Dahl, 1912
Characters of genus: A small genus with species, recently separated from Euophrys.
Pseudeuophrys vafra (Blackwall, 1867)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Salticus Latreille, 1804
Salticus mutabilis Lucas, 1846
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Palp and epigyne.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Synageles Simon, 1876
Characters of genus: Ant-like spiders with long and narrow body. Abdomen slightly constricted near the middle. Head not abrubtly raised from thorax as in Myrmarachne. First pair of legs massive compared to the remaining pairs.
Synageles venator (Lucas, 1836)
Description: Carapace black and with iridescence. A transverse white band is present just behind the posterior eyes. The pedicel is clearly visible, especially when viewed from above. The abdomen is brownish anteriorly and blackish posteriorly. At the constriction there is a broken transverse white band. Further back there is another, less distinct transverse band. Legs brownish with longitudinal dark streaks, with legs I exhibiting more pronounced dark markings. Size: Female 3.5-4 mm; male 3 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Female.
Male.
Family: Scytodidae (Spitting Spiders)
Genus: Scytodes Latreille, 1804
Scytodes thoracica (Latreille, 1802)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Eggsack.
Female with eggsack.
Male.
Male.
Male palp.
Male, abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Family: Segestriidae (Six-eyed Spiders)
Genus: Segestria Latreille, 1804
Characters of genus: Large six-eyed spiders with elongate abdomen and having the three anterior pairs of legs directed forward. Males and females are alike, but males have a slimmer and smaller abdomen. There are three species in Northern and Central Europe, which all build tubular retreats in cracks of walls, cliffs and trees and under stones. About 10-15 threads radiat from the entrance hole of the retreat and serve as detectors of prey location. Once prey touch a thread the spider will rush out to attack and seize the prey, and then take it back to to the retreat for consumption.
Segestria florentina (Rossi, 1790)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female, note the characteristic green metallic sheen on the chelicers.
Female.
Female, closeup of abdomen.
Female.
Female.
Female, this species does not possess an epigyne.
Juvenile.
Juvenile.
Web.
Web.
Family: Sicariidae (Violin Spiders)
Genus: Loxosceles Heineken & Lowe, 1832
Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour, 1820)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdomen.
Male palp.
Male.
Male.
Family: Tetragnathidae (Long-jawed Orb Weavers)
The Tetragnathidae is the tenth largest spider family of the world encompassing almost 1000 species in 4 subfamilies and 51 genera. They range in size from small to large (2-23 mm body size). Many species build delicate sometimes more or less horizontal orb webs with an open hub and few, wide-set radii and spirals. The webs have no signal line and no retreat and are often found in vegetation near water. The spiders often sit in the centre of the web. If disturbed they drop to the ground or cling to the vegetation adopting a stretch position with the long legs stretched out rendering themselves inconspicuous. It should be noted that only immatures of the shorter-legged Pachygnathy genus build orb webs. Adults of this genus are free-living hunters seeking their prey in the vegetation or at ground level. The long and divergent chelicerae of many species are used to hold the female during mating. The egg sacks are placed on the ground, behind bark or fastened in the vegetation. Some species camouflage the egg sack so it looks like mould or a bird dropping (for example species of Tetragnatha). The egg sack is often guarded by the female who takes residence near the egg sack adopting the stretch position to camouflage herself against the background. The family is represented with 4 species on the Azores each in their own genus.
Characters of family: The tetragnathids belong to the group of ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. Many members of the family are usually elongated spiders characterized by the often very long legs and chelicerae (subfamilies Tetragnathinae and Leucauginae). However there are some genera with oval abdomens or normal sized chelicerae (subfamily Metinae). Males are usually smaller and slimmer than females who often have the base of the abdomen swollen. Males often have relatively longer chelicerae than females and sometimes they are even longer than the carapace. The male chelicerae are also often furnished with spurs on their chelicerae, which are used to lock the female chelicerae during mating. The female palp is provided with a well-developed, toothed claw. The eyes are not unlike those of the araneids. They are subequal and arranged in 2 rows of 4 usually equidistant or with the medial eyes closer to each other than to the lateral eyes. The lateral eyes are either spaced apart or contiguous, sometimes situated on a tubercle. The primary eyes are always black. The secondary eyes of most genera are provided with a light-reflecting layer (tapetum) aiding nocturnal vision. However, tapetum is missing in a few genera such as Tetragnatha having all eyes black. The carapace is elongate and with short, shallow fovea (indistinct in Tetragnatha). The sternum is longer than wide and pointed at rear, sometimes protruding in between coxae IV. Narrow, horizontal sclerites are sometimes present between coxae and carapace. Endites are parallel and may either converge or dilate in front of the rebordered labium. The legs are long and slender and mostly with spines but in some genera there are none (for example Pachygnathy). The trichobothria are often branched. They are sometimes arranged in rows. The shape of the abdomen is variable sometimes round or oval but mostly elongate. Colours vary, quite often with bright white, green, red and yellow colours often with coppery or silvery blotches. Tetragnathids are entelegyne or secondary haplogyne (without epigyne). Sometimes the genital plate is not sclerotized (subfamily Tetragnathinae) and thus adult females may be difficult to separate from subadults and juveniles since there is no epigyne - just a hairy, tongue-shaped plate projecting posteriorly from the epigastric fold. The male palp is simple and often very similar within genera.
Genus: Metellina Chamberlin & Ivie, 1941
Characters of genus: Very closely related to the Meta genus. The differences between the genera Metellina and Meta are not visible with a lens. Anterior row of eyes recurved, posterior straight. Chelicerae are provided with 3 large promarginal teeth and retromargin with 2 large teeth and 2 denticles (Almquist 2005). Endites are about twice as long as labium. Paracymbium sclerotized. The ventral markings sometimes consist of a broad dark median band flanked by reticulated narrow white bands.
Metellina merianae (Scopoli, 1763) - Half-light orb weaver
Description: Carapace light brown with dark triangle covering head. Within the triangle there is a pair of light patches about midway between the ocular area and the fovea. Irregular blackish bands are present along the margins of the carapace. Foveal area also blackish with a few radiating dark streaks. Legs are yellowish brown more or less clearly annulated with greyish brown. Base of leg spines are ringed with black. The abdomen is yellowish brown mottled with plenty of dark brown. At a distance the abdomen may appear greenish grey. Ventrally, there is a pair of elongated light patches at side of spinners. In addition, the colour variety Metellina merianae celata has a golden median band running the whole length of abdomen. At close look the golden band is made up of patches of yellow and red as well as some white reticulated areas. Only four specimens of the golden striped variety are known from the Faroes. Assuming that ca.1000 specimens of the normal form have been collected on the island (410 by Brændegård, 1928) a rough estimation of the ratio between the two forms possible: 1000:4 = 250. That is ca. 0.4 %.of the population of Metellina merianae occur in golden striped variety. Size: Female 5.5-8.5 mm; male 5-7 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Palp and epigyne.
Small juvenile.
Small juvenile.
Genus: Pachygnatha Sundevall, 1823 - Thickjawed orb weavers
Pachygnatha degeeri Sundevall, 1830
Origin: Introduced. Range: Terceira.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Sancus Tullgren, 1910
Sancus acoreensis (Wunderlich, 1992)
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Male.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Genus: Tetragnatha Latreille, 1804 - Longjawed orb weavers, stretch spiders
Characters of genus: The abdomen is elongate and slender usually two or three times as long as wide. The lateral eyes of each row are not contiguous. The chelicerae are long and divergent and the fang furrows are provided with long rows of large teeth. The legs are very long and provided with spines.
Tetragnatha extensa (Linnaeus, 1758) - Common stretch-spider
Description: The carapace and large divergent palps are yellowish. The sternum is brown with a distinct light triangle anteriorly. The reticulated markings of the abdomen are quite variable. Usually silvery white with a yellowish or reddish midline band which sometimes is divided longitudinally. The ventral side of the abdomen is blackish edged by white bands. Size: Female 6.5-11 mm; male 5-9 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Family: Theridiidae (Comb-footed Spiders)
The Theridiidae is the fifth largest spider family of the world encompassing ca 2280 species in 6 subfamilies and 96 genera. They are extremely variable in shape and colouration with some species appearing fairly robust (for example Steatoda) while other delicate (for example thin-legged species such as Ariamnes). They range in size from very small to medium-sized (1-22 mm body size). I consider the fine whip spider Ariamnes (Argyrodes) colubrinus a medium-sized spider despite a body length of 22 mm because of the whip-like, extremely elongated abdomen. Most theridiid species build irregular three-dimensional space webs with criss cross threads. Some species use a retreat, usually placed inside the web. The spider often sits inverted in the web or hidden in the retreat but will run for cover or drop from the web if disturbed. They overpower their prey by wrapping it with sticky silk by activity of the hind legs. These are provided with a comb of serrated bristles, which draw silk from the spinners and fling it over the prey. Only when the prey is securely wrapped in silk does the spider approach to bite. The prey is consumed in the retreat or at the part of the web where the spider usually takes up its position if no retreat is used. The wrapping technique enable theridiids to overpower prey many times their own size. A few species have more or less abandoned web building and live as active hunters at ground level, for example Steatoda phalerata. Some males possess ridges at rear of carapace opposed by teeth under the front end of the abdomen. Rapid movement of the abdomen while scraping the teeth against the ridges produce a sound, which is sometimes audible. The sound is used in courtship along with plucking and tapping the female web with palps and legs. The egg sacks are placed in the web or hidden inside the retreats and guarded by the female. Some females move the egg sacks to different positions during the day to optimize the climatic conditions. The family is represented with ca.15 species on the Azores.
Characters of family: The theridiids belong to a group of araneomorph, ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. They are often referred to as comb-footed spiders because tarsus IV of most species possess a row of slightly curved serrated bristles. This comb is visible with a lens in larger species. However, this comb is often difficult to discern in smaller species and males, even under the stereomicroscope. Other important diagnostic characters for the family include that the theridiids do not have the labium rebordered as opposed to the related families Araneidae, Linyphiidae, and Nesticidae. Also, they have few or no spines on their legs. Finally, the male palp is without a conspicuous paracymbium as in the Araneidae, Linyphiidae, Nesticidae, and Tetragnathidae. The carapace is very variable in shape among species, sometimes modified in males in to strange lobes not unlike those seen in the Linyphiidae. A few genera have rugose carapaces due to dense coverage of pits and warts, the latter sometimes hairy (for example Crustulina and Steatoda). In some species the carapace is almost circular and appears small relatively to the size of the abdomen. The clypeus is often very high. The sternum is triangular to shield-shaped (scutiform). It is domed in some species, for example in Theonoe minutissima. The eyes are sometimes subequal and sometimes of very different sizes. They are arranged in 2 rows of 4, the eyes of each row often equidistant. Lateral eyes are often situated close together or contiguous (for example Pholcomma and Theonoe). The secondary eyes are very often provided with a tapetum. The chelicerae are usually small and weak but some species with cheliceral apophyses may have long chelicers. Promargin with few teeth (0-3) while retromargin usually have none. The shape of endites is variable but usually they converge somewhat. The legs are moderately long to very long, lacking spines on femora, tibia, and metatarsus. The female palps possess a claw, which in the Hadrotarsinae subfamily is deeply clefted (palmate). The abdomen is very variable in shape from oval to round, sometimes globular or even higher than long. The abdomen sometimes extends over the posterior part of the carapace. In some species of the Argyrodinae subfamily the abdomen is extremely long and cylindrical. The colouration of the abdomen is also very variable as are the patterns. Some smaller species with unicoloured abdomens may resemble linyphiids. Species with sparsely haired abdomens often appear glossy. Colulus may be large and setose, small (represented just by the setae) or absent. The morphology of the colulus is often an important character in keys for theridiid genera. The tracheal spiracle is situated just in front of the spinners. Theridiids are entelegyne usually with well sclerotized epigynes. Tibia and patella of male palp are without apophyses. The palp does not have a paracymbium - just a hook on distal margin of cymbium serving as a locking device. The anterior edge of the male palpal tibia is often widened and provided with a row of long setae (e.g. in Theridion).
Genus: Argyrodes Simon, 1864
Argyrodes rostratus Blackwall, 1877
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel.
Genus: Cryptachaea Archer, 1946
Cryptachaea blattea (Urquhart, 1886)
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Genus: Enoplognatha Pavesi, 1880
Enoplognatha mandibularis (Lucas, 1846)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Terceira, São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female with eggsack.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Lasaeola Simon, 1881
Lasaeola oceanica Simon, 1883
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Neottiura Menge, 1868
Neottiura bimaculata (Linnaeus, 1767)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female with egg sack.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Nesticodes Archer, 1950
Nesticodes rufipes (Lucas, 1846)
Origin: Introduced. Range: São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Genus: Parasteatoda Archer, 1946
Characters of genus: Carapace slightly longer than wide. Eyes subequal. The anterior row is recurved while the posterior row is nearly straight. Clypeus about three time higher than diameter of anterior median eye. Abdomen of female is higher than long.
Parasteatoda simulans (Thorell, 1875)
Range: Flores, Faial, Graciosa, Terceira.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Parasteatoda tepidariorum (C. L. Koch, 1841) - Glasshouse comb-foot
Description: The carapace is yellowish brown to dark brown. The abdomen is greyish brown with indistinct whitish chevrons and streaks. Some specimens have blackish markings in the centre area of the dorsum. Male have uniformly coloured orange to reddish brown legs while females have darker annuli at the apical ends of segments. Males are generally more orange than females. Size: Female 5-7 mm; male 3-4.5 mm. Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico?, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female, abdominal markings.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Rhomphaea L. Koch, 1872
Rhomphaea nasica (Simon, 1873)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Subadult female.
Genus: Rugathodes Archer, 1950
Rugathodes acoreensis Wunderlich, 1992
Origin: Endemic. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Rugathodes pico (Merrett & Ashmole, 1989)
Origin: Endemic. Range: Faial, Pico.
Genus: Steatoda Sundevall, 1833
Characters of genus: Many species of this genus have a light band along the anterior edge of the abdomen. Males are able to produce sounds during courtship by scraping teeth on the abdomen against a file on the rear of the carapace.
Steatoda grossa (C. L. Koch, 1838) - False black widow
Origin: Introduced. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Steatoda nobilis (Thorell, 1875)
Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Male.
Male. Note the ridges used for sound production at rear of carapace.
Male.
Female.
Female, abdominal markings.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female, eyes.
Female, tarsus IV with comb of serrated bristles.
Female abdomen.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Theridion Walckenaer, 1805
Theridion hannoniae Denis, 1944
Origin: Introduced. Range: Terceira, Santa Maria.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female abdominal markings.
Female, note the characteristic pair of white blotches on venter.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Female.
Female.
Female, reddish specimen.
Female, reddish specimen.
Female, abdominal markings (dark specimen).
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Theridion musivivum Schmidt, 1956
Origin: Macaronesian. Range: Corvo, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Female.
Epigyne.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Male.
Female, abdominal markings.
Female.
Family: Thomisidae (Typical Crab Spiders)
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. The family is represented with three species on the Azores, all belonging to the Xysticus genus.
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: 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 cor Canestrini, 1873
Origin: Native. Range: Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Xysticus cribratus Simon, 1885
Origin: Introduced. Range: Terceira.
Xysticus nubilus Simon, 1875
Origin: Introduced. Range: Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria.
Palp and epigyne.
Male.
Family: Zodariidae (Spotted Ground Spiders)
Genus: Zodarion Walckenaer, 1826
Zodarion atlanticum Pekr & Cardoso, 2005
Origin: Introduced. Range: Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Miguel.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Literature
Borges, P. & Gabriel, R. (2009). Predicting extinctions on oceanic islands:arthropods and bryophytes. Grupo de Biodiversidade dos Açores, Angra do Heroísmo. 80pp. ISBN 978-972-8612-51-1.
Borges, P.A.V. & Wunderlich, J. (2008). Spider biodiversity patterns and their conservation in the Azorean archipelago, with descriptions of new species. Systematics and Biodiversity 6(2): 249-282.
Crespo, L.C., Cardoso, Henriques, P. & Gaspa, C. (2009). Spiders (Araneae) from Porto Santo (Madeira, Portugal): additions to the current knowledge. Boletín Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa, nº 45 (2009) : 471−475.
Foelix, R.F. (1982). Biology of Spiders. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 306 pp.
Jocqué, R. & Dippenaar-Schoeman, A.S. (2007). Spider families of the world (2nd edition). Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium. ISBN:978-90-74752-11-4.
Vieira, V., Borges, P.A.V., Karsholt, O., Wunderlich, J. (2003). The Arthropoda fauna of Corvo island (Azores): new records and updated list of species. Vieraea 31:1-6. ISSN 0210-945X.
Wunderlich, J. (1988). Die Spinnen der Kanarischen Inseln und Madeiras. Adaptive Radiation, Biogeographie, Revisionen und Neubeschreibungen. - Taxonomy & Ecology, 1. - Straubenhardt (Verlag Jörg Wunderlich), 1988; 435 S. ISSN 0932-4771, ISBN 3-8236-1112-7.
Wunderlich, J. (1992). Die Spinnen-Fauna der Makaronesischen Inseln: Taxonomie, Ökologie, Biogeographie und Evolution. Beitrage zur Araneologie 1. Verlag Jorg Wunderlich, Straubenhart. Germany, pp 1-619. [Title also in English: The spider fauna of the Macaronesian islands. Taxonomy, ecology, biogeography and evolution.].
Links
Araneae - Spiders of Europe
Aranha Portugal
Azorean Biodiversity Portal
The World Spider Catalog by Platnick
The Spiders of the Azores
Images and Species Descriptions
© 2011 Jørgen Lissner and Paulo Borges. Syncroscopy images © Enésima Mendonça