Introduction
The aim of this webpage is to provide information about the spider fauna of the Faroe Islands. In time this site is planned to contain species descriptions and images of all Faroese species occurring on the archipelago. Some images shown on this page may not be based on Faroese specimens but spiders collected or observed elsewhere in their distributional range.
The spiders
The spider fauna of the Faroes comprises 94 species belonging to 66 genera and 13 families (not including Metellina merianae celata which I consider a variety of M. merianae). The 94 species include about 9 species which I estimate have established breeding populations as a consequence of man-induced introductions. The Faroe Islands presumably provide habitat for all 94 species. However, I consider 19 species only as potential members of the fauna since they have been recorded only once on the archipelago or have been found outside their natural habitat. This may indicate chance introductions rather than presence of breeding populations. In addition, at least 10 exotic species have been introduced to the islands. They have mainly been found in warehouses storing fruits and vegetables imported from warmer parts of the world and are not counted as Faroese as their habitat requirements are not met on the islands. The Faroese spider fauna is relatively poor compared to Norway and Scotland but compares to other isolated areas in the region such as Iceland (109 species) and Greenland (75 species). The main factors responsible presumably include the isolated position of the islands, the relatively short time elapsed since last glaciation, and the prevailing oceanic climate with cool summers.
Description of the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands consist of 18 treeless volcanic islands situated in the North-East Atlantic Sea between 61°20’ and 62°24’ N and between 6°15’ and 7°41’ W. The islands range in size from 0.8 km2 and 374 km2 and totals 1399 km2. The highest mountain peak reaches 882 m a.s.l. The distance from north to south is 113 km and from east to west is 75 km. The nearest neighbour, the Shetland Islands, is situated 345 km to the southeast. The islands are separated by narrow sounds forming part of the warm North Atlantic Current. The climate is oceanic with mild winters and cool summers. The annual mean temperature is 7°C and the annual mean lowland precipitation amounts to 1,500 mm. The Faroese vegetation is relatively uniform and difficult to classify into plant communities. The outfield vegetation is dominated by grasslands and heaths but is replaced by sparse alpine vegetation at higher elevations. Infield vegetation consists of lush grass vegetation or crop fields. Mire vegetation occupies moist areas including blanket bogs, spring areas, and overgrown lakes. The coast is mostly rocky but at some places sand beaches and salt affected shore meadows are found. Sand dunes are found at one site on Sandoy.
I am indebted to Rodmund á Kelduni, Vágoy and Jens-Kjeld Jensen, Nólsoy, for kindly providing specimens for photography. I would also like to thank Kaj Nissen, Hobro, Denmark for lending me access to his collection of Faroese specimens and relevant literature.
Below follows a list of Faroe 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.
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. On the Faroes this family is represented with two species in the Tegenaria genus. Both species are believed to be introduced but are now well established in buildings. A third species, Tegenaria duellica has been found on just one occasion in a building in Tórshavn.
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: Tegenaria Latreille, 1804
Tegenaria domestica and Tegenaria atrica have established populations in buildings on several islands, while the breeding status of Tegenaria duellica is not yet known. The long, widely separated two-segmented posterior spinners of the species are visible even when the spiders are viewed from above and readily separates them from any other spider species on the islands. The species are living on small or extensive sheet webs with a funnel or tubular retreat where the spiders sits ready. The webs are often placed in the corners of little used rooms of cellars, sheds etc. and becomes dusty with time. When prey land on the web the spider rush out over it in an upright position to grab the prey which is then dragged back to the retreat for consumption. Tegenaria saeva and T. gigantea occur both in Iceland and Britain but is hitherto unrecorded for the Faroes.
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 atrica C. L. Koch, 1843
The usually large and long-legged males leave their webs in autumn in search of females. They often ventures in to rooms inhabited by humans and cause some fright due to their size and speedy run across the floors. Description: Carapace dark greyish-brown with irregular light median and lateral bands. Legs dark greyish-brown. Abdomen light brown, mottled with greyish-black hairs. Paired light spots are present in the median line. Posteriorly, the spots combine to form chevrons. Sternum dark with wide median band which narrows posteriorly. The band is flanked by three light spots at each side. Male similar to female, but with relatively longer legs. Size: Female 12-18 mm; male 10-15 mm. Maturity: Males have been found in August, October, and November and females in March, April, September, and October (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). In Iceland males are found from July to October while females are found all year (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: Only found indoors in the Faroes (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). The species has been found in warehouses in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain the species have been found in garden centres and post offices but is probably also associated with houses, garages and and sheds as its sibling species T. saeva and T. gigantea (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Apparently a fairly new species in the Faroes recorded for the first time in 1990. Known from Eysturoy and Streymoy (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010) and is now common in Tórshavn (own collection data). Also known from Iceland where it appears to hybridize with T. saeva (Agnarsson 1996). Scattered and rare in Britain including Scotland but unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species is perhaps not breeding in Britain with records thought to be results of introduction from mainland Europe and Ireland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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. Maturity: Males in April, June and August, females in March, May, June, August and November (de Lessert 1913, Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Being an indoor species adults can probably be found all year as is the case for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Almost exclusively in houses, rarely outdoors and then near houses (own collection data). Found indoor in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Almost entirely found within buildings in Britain but sometimes also in dry caves and in hollow trees (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Tegenaria domestica is virtually cosmopolitan in distribution and occurs in houses in almost all climates. In the Faroes the species is known from Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágoy, Mykines, Skúvoy, and Suðuroy (Svabo 1783, de Lessert 1913, Schenkel 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Widespread in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Britain including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Only found once in Greenland (Marusik et al. 2006). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Tegenaria duellica Simon, 1875 - Giant house spider
The ecology of this species is identical to that of Tegenaria atrica. There is some confusion about the species status as there have been attempts to synominize the species with Tegenaria gigantea, but this has not yet been followed by Platnick's World Spider Catalog (Version 12.5), indicating this is not generally accepted. Description: Very similar to Tegenaria atrica in general appearance (see description of this species). The two species are only easily distinguishable by examining the epigynes and male palps under the microscope. Size: Female 12-18 mm; male 10-15 mm. Maturity: The single Faroese specimen known hitherto (a male) was collected on October 14, 2009. In Britain adults have been found throughout the year, males mostly in summer and autumn (Roberts 1995). Habitat: Probably only inside buildings in the north of its range such as in the Faroes. The single Icelandic specimen recorded so far was also found indoors (Agnarsson 1996). In northern Britain the species is found in houses, garages and sheds, to the south also sometimes away from houses (Roberts 1995). Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding status unknown. Range: Found on one occasion in a warehouse in Tórshavn indicating an introduction event. Widespread and common in Britain, scarcer in Scotland and unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species has a western distribution in Europe, being known only from France, Spain and Portugal, but also introduced to Finland. Also found only once indoors in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). In this country the sibling species T. saeva is commonly found imported with products and is possibly established in warehouses in Reykjavík, some specimens taken seem to be hybrids of T. duellica and T. atrica (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Family: Amaurobiidae (Hackledmesh Weavers)
This is a fairly small, poorly defined family, which is represented with ca. 680 species in 71 genera. They are found in most parts of the world with the exception of some arctic areas and islands such as Greenland and the Azorean Islands. Small to large spiders ranging 3-16 mm body size (Jocqué & Dippenaar-Schoeman 2007). Most European species are fairly large and robust, with relatively short and stout legs. Many species are ground dwellers constructing small funnel or tubular webs of cribellate or ecribellate silk under objects on the ground sometimes with a collar of silk spun around the opening. Some members of the Amaurobius genus constructs bluish cribellate webs behind bark of trees or on buildings and fences. On the Faroes this family is represented with one species in the Amaurobius genus. The occurrence of this species is believed to be the result of a recent introduction and the species has now become common in several urban areas.
Characters of family: Most amaurobiids are cribellate but some genera transferred to Amaurobiidae from other families are ecribellate, e.g. Coelotes as well as other genera of the Coelotinae subfamily. Amaurobiids possess three tarsal claws and are entelegyne. The 8 eyes are usually pale and arranged in 2 rows of 4. The carapace is longer than wide, often having a broad, only slightly elevated head region. A fairly distinct, longitudinal fovea is present in many species. The sternum is oval to shield-shaped and blunt apex at rear. The lateral edges of the sternum are often sinuous. The chelicerae are often strong and usually longer and more slender in males than in females. The labium is formed like a rounded square or rectangle. The endites are almost parallel with brushes of hairs (scopulae) anteriorly. The abdomen is usually dominated by shades of brown or grey, often very dark and with markings as more or less distinct chevrons. It is densely covered by fine hairs of varying size. The legs are moderately long, especially in males and mostly uniformly coloured but sometimes with dark annulations. The tarsi and metatarsi are furnished with trichobothria arranged in rows, females with calamistrum on metatarsus IV having two rows of bristles. A more or less strongly divided cribellum is present anterior to the spinners. The cribellum is, however, reduced in males. The epigyne is often formed as a central plate separated from lateral parts by sutures. The male palp has simple sclerotized tibial apophyses and the shapes of these are important for species identification.
Genus: Amaurobius C. L. Koch, 1837
Just one, recently arrived species in the Faroes.
Characters of genus: Medium sized to large spiders with most species having a body lengtht between 3.5 and 15 mm (Roberts 1995, Kaston 1978). Head high, covered with bent black hairs. Clypeus a little higher than the diameter of one anterior medial eye. Chelicerae robust, bulging on anterior surface and with a prominent lateral condyle. A bipartite cribellum is present anterior to the spinners (divided in two by a fine ridge). Calamistrium with double row of bristles originating about 1/5 distance from base of metatarsus IV. Femora with well developed dorsal and dorsolateral spines. Trichobothria on metatarsi and tarsi increase in lenght towards distal ends. Males are slimmer than the females, but the abdominal pattern are the same in both sexes. Male with three tibial apophyses which usually are visible with a lens. Epigynes variable from large median plate with small lateral lobes to small median plate with large lateral lobes.
Amaurobius fenestralis (Ström, 1768) - Window lace-weaver
Males are adult in autumn and leave their webs in search of females. During this period they may occasionally venture into houses. As the sole Faroese member of Amaurobiidae it can not be mistaken for any other species on the islands. It a large species making bluish, cribellate webs on the outside of buildings, fences etc. A silken tunnel leads to the retreat within a crack at which site the spiders hides during the day. During the night the spider emerges from the retreat and may be seen in the web, usually near the entrance to the retreat. Description: Carapace yellow-brown to brown with head sometimes darker. Legs yellow-brown with dark annulations. Abdomen yellow-brown with dark brown spots at sides. The area around the cardiac mark is darker than the remaining abdomen. Behind the cardiac mark there is a series of forward directed chevrons made by whitish hairs, further back followed by dark-brown chevrons. Size: Female 7-9 mm; male 5-7 mm. Maturity: Males have been found in April, September, October, and November and females in January, April, August, September, and November (own collection data). Most likely adults of both sexes can be found all year as in other parts of its range. In Britain adults have been found in all months of the year, but mainly in spring and autumn (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found mainly on fences and outer walls of houses (own collection data). Numerous webs can be found at the ruins of the Magnus Cathedral in Kirkjubøur both on the inside and outside walls. In Britain this ia a woodland species found under bark of trees, under logs and in leaf litter (Harvey et al. 2002). Usually not associated with houses in Britain, this habitat is occupied by the sibling species A. similis which can be found in almost every house and outhouse (Harvey et al. 2002). Thus it appears that A. fenestralis occupy a different habitat in the Faroes than in most parts of its range. Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Streymoy and Vágoy (own collection data). Recorded in 2007 for the first time in the Faroes by Rodmund á Kelduni. Nevertheless already known as common in several urban areas: Tórshavn, Bøur, Sandavágur, Miðvágur, and Sørvágur (Lisner 2009). This indicates a recent colonization and rapid spread. Unrecorded for Iceland, however the close relative A. similis has been found introduced (Agnarsson 1996). Known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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: Araneus Clerck, 1757 - Angulate and round-shouldered orb weavers
Two members of this genus are known from the Faroes of which none have been observed to breed. The Faroese records most likely deal with introduced specimens, both species are very common to the south of the Faroes, Araneus diadematus has also been found to the north of the Faroes in Iceland. It is possible that the species may be able to colonize the Faroes if not allready done so. The species are easily identified by the naked eye due to their large size and the characteristic markings of the abdominal folium. The species produce fairly large almost vertical orb webs with about 18-30 radii and with the retreat placed higher than the web among leaves, under bark, on twigs, in lichens and on buildings (Locket & Millidge 1953, Almquist 2005).
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 diadematus Clerck, 1757 - Cross orb weaver
The species constructs an orb web with about 30 radii placed up to 1.5 m above ground level. The species is frequently found sitting in the center of its web which may reach 40 cm in diameter. The eggs hibernate in the egg sack and the juvenile emerge in early summer. The spiderlings are yellow with contrasting black folium. During the first instars they cluster tight in a tangled web. If disturbed they disperse in all directions. They mature the following summer almost two years after they were laid as eggs. Description: Angulate orb weaver with elongate abdomen widest at the position of the rather faint shoulder humps anterior to the middle. The general colour varies from pale yellow to nearly black with most specimens reddish or brownish. The carapace is yellowish brown and varies less in colour, often with dark median and lateral bands and covered with long white hairs, however less so at edges. Head large, protruding. Chelicerae and sternum dark brown. Folium is not always distinct. Usually there is a distinct cruciform marking on the abdominal dorsum consisting of a longitudinal row of white dots and a pair of lateral dots situated in the middle of the anterior half. Legs yellowish brown annulated with dark brown. The legs are provided with numerous strong spines. Male tibia II with eight pairs of short, thick spines. Size: Female 9-14 mm; male 4-9 mm. Maturity: Four adult females have been collected on the Faroes, one each in the months of August, September, October and November (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). In Iceland males are found from July to August and females from July to November (Agnarsson 1996). Both sexes are found mainly in August and September in Britain, with females persisting in to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Mostly found indoors on the Faroes which may indicate introduced stray specimens (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). The species has not yet been found in natural habitats except two times on outsides of houses at Tórshavn and Sørvágur Lissner 2010). In Iceland the species is found on south facing house walls and cliffs but also in south facing vegetation (Agnarsson 1996) indicating that it should be able to breed outdoors in the Faroes. The species occopy a very wide range of habitats in Britain wherever it can build its web such as woodland, shrubs, hedgerows, roadside verges, buildings, gardens, quarries, and cliff-walls (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding status unknown. Range: Known from Streymoy and Vágoy (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). The species has been recorded at least five times on the Faroes, three times indoors in Tórshavn and two times outdoors, one in Tórshavn and one in Sørvágur. The species has not yet been observed to breed in the Faroes. The species is considered common on low ground in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). The species is also known from Scotland and Orkney, but not Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Araneus quadratus Clerck, 1757 - Four-spot orb weaver
This spider makes a large orb web with about 20 radii typically stretched between tall herb or bushes at about 0.5 m above ground. The spider usually sits in its tent-like retreat of whitish silk but sometimes it will sit in the web as well. Description: Round-shouldered orb weaver with elongate abdomen. However, large gravid females have almost circular abdomens. The dorsum of the abdomen varies in ground colour from yellow, greenish grey, orange, brownish red or red. Dorsum are distinctly marked with four large white spots forming a square in anterior half and a white median line on fore margin. Carapace light yellowish with dark median and lateral bands. The median band is irregular often wider or forked in front. Legs yellowish white, clearly annulated with dark brown and provided with strong spines. Male tibia II are provided with strong spines. Scape short and broad at base. Size: Female 9-15 mm; male 6-9 mm. Maturity: the two known Faroese females were found in October (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner, private collection). In Britain males are found from July to September with a peak in August while females mainly are found from August to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The two Faroese females were found indoors (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner, private collection) which is not natural habitat for this species. This indicates a chance introductions. The natural habitat for this spider in Britain is tall herb vegetation and bushes such as undisturbed grassland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species appear more frequent in moist areas. Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding status unknown. Range: Streymoy. Only found indoors in Tórshavn in 2002 (Bengtson et al. 2004) and 2010 (Lissner, private collection). The species has not been recorded on Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). The species is known from Scotland and Orkney but not Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). A very closely related species Araneus groenlandicola is found in southern Greenland (Marusik et al. 2006). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Nuctenea Simon, 1864
The genus holds just one Faroese species.
Characters of genus: Carapace rather broad and flattened. Anterior medial eyes are situated on a low elevation. Medial trapezium slightly wider at rear. Height of clypeus about one diameter of an anterior medial eye. Lower edge of clypeus curve downward in area below anterior medial eyes. Abdomen flattened with a wide dark folium extending full length of abdomen. Several light spots are present within folium as are four pairs of large, brown or blackish impressed dots (sigilla). Venter black with a white or yellow comma-shaped mark in each side. Males with a hook on distal margin of coxa I opposite a depression on femur II (Almquist 2005).
Nuctenea umbratica (Clerck, 1757) - Walnut orb-weaver
The species may have become established in Tórshavn and Hvannasundi. It is a large, dark and flattened orb weaver which can not be mistaken for any other species on the islands. The species spends the day hidden in cracks in wooden boardings on houses and fences and appear only during daytime to fetch prey in web. The spider is often very active at dusk to renew its large orb web and when finished it will stay in the centre of the web during the rest of the night. The web is very characteristic having an eccentric centre and slackened, arched spiral threads between radii. Description: Carapace brown with two dark parallel lines from fovea to posterior medial eyes. Sternum, coxae and trochanters dark brown or blackish and furnished with long white hairs. Abdomen flattened dorsoventrally, widest at middle. Anterior edge of abdomen idented in middle in some specimens. Folium dark brown sometimes outlined with narrow, wavy light bands and lighter sides. Some specimens appear lighter due to dense hairing with lighter hairs which may be further exaggerated by reflections artefacts on flash photos. Venter black with a white or yellow comma-shaped mark in each side, the marks being more curved than those of N. silvicultrix. Legs brown or dark brown with darker annulations. Legs may also appear annulated due to rings of dense white hairs. Epigynal scape short and horseshoe-shaped. Size: Female 9-14 mm; male 7-9 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in May, June and August in the Faroes (own collection data). Adults of both sexes can be found all year in Britain, but mainly from April to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Two specimens were taken in 2002 at the SMS trading centre i Tórshavn (own collection data) and one specimen was taken in 2003 on the outside of a house in a newly built-up area at Hoyvik near Tórshavn (Magnussen 2003). A female was collected at Hvannasundi, Víðoy in 2009 and one further female was found the same year in Tórshavn in a camper that had been in Denmark two months earlier. It is probable that most or all of these specimens were introduced. In Britain the species is found under under loose bark and in fissures in posts and fences as well as in crevices of window and door frames (Harvey et al.2002). Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding status unknown. Range: Known from Streymoy and Viðoy. Only five specimens have been found in the Faroes, mostly in Tórshavn (Magnussen 2003, Lissner 2010). There is yet no evidence for a breeding population. Unrecorded fro Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread in Britain, but scattered in Scotland and unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Zygiella F. O. P.-Cambridge, 1902
Orbweavers construcing webs nearly always with missing sector in upper part with the signal thread in missing sector between hub and retreat.
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
This species constructs a highly characteristic orb web with the viscid spiral threads missing from one sector between two radii in the upper part of the web. In the open area the signal thread leads to the tubular retreat made of silk and where the spider spend the daytime. The retreat is open in both ends and the spider is able to escape either way and drop to the ground if something threatens the spider. During the night the spider is seen on the web. Larger specimens are rarely found away from buildings but young spiders construct their webs in vegetation such as trees and bushes in the vicinity of houses. On the Faroes about 10% of the specimens collected or observed occur in a reddish form appearing very similar to Zygiella atrica. There seem to be no intermediates between this form and the normal grey form. 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. Maturity: In the Faroes males have been found between August and November and females between August and January (own collection data). Both sexes are found all year in Britain with a peak in autumn, however males in low numbers from November to June (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Mainly outside buildings at low elevations (own collection data). Outside a greenhouse in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain the species is typically found on street furniture and the outside of buildings, often on window frames sometimes also on cliffs and bushes, especially near habitation (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Streymoy and Vágoy (own collection data). This species was found for the first time in 2000 at the SMS trading centre in Tórshavn by Dánial Jespersen. Since then it has been found at several places: Kollafjørður, Sørvágur, Kirkjubøur, Tórshavn and Miðvágur (own collection data) indicating that the species is well established. Only found once in Iceland but it is assumed that the species may have a wider distribution in connections with greenhouses (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread in Britain, including Scotland and Orkney but unrecorded from Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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.
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
There is just one fairly common Faroese species, Clubiona trivialis which cannot be mistaken for any other species on the islands.
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 trivialis C. L. Koch, 1843 - Northern sac-spider
A fairly small sac spider which during the day can be found in silken sacs on heather (Nielsen, 1928). Sometimes the female is found inside the sac guarding an egg sack wrapped in loosely woven silk. Description: Female carapace yellowish or light orange brown. Legs light yellow-brown. Chelicerae brown. Dorsum of abdomen uniformly reddish brown sometimes with a slightly darker or lighter cardiac mark. Abdomen with short, light pubescence. Spinners yellow. Legs and sternum light brownish, in recently moulted specimens pale grey. Male similar to female but on the average 0.5 mm shorter. The palpal tibial apophysis is formed like a spade and is blackish. Size: Female 3.6-4.6 mm; male 3.3-3.9 mm. Maturity: Males in July-September and females in May, July, August and September, data based on few records (Schenkel 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Lissner 2010). In Britain females have been found from March to December. Adults males may generally have a shorter season with the majority of records from May to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: On heather and in moss in meadows and pastures (Schenkel ,1925, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). In Britain the species is found among low vegetation such as heather at all elevations, sometimes under stones (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Eysturoy, Streymoy and Vágoy (Schenkel 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). It has been found at Tórshavn (Planteringen and Hoyvík), Toftavatn near Toftir, Ytri Suðurtriðingur near Sørvágur and Norði í Líð, Heimaraleitið near Miðvágur (Schenkel 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). Unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread in Britain, commoner in the north with records from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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.
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: Haplodrassus Chamberlin, 1922
There is just one rarely encountered Faroese species, Haplodrassus signifer, which can not be mistaken for any other species on the islands.
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: Only two adult females are known from the Faroes taken in July and August (Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). In nearby Iceland adult males are mainly found in May and June while females are found from May to October but mainly in June and July (Agnarsson, 1996). In Britain adults have been found between April and September with a peak from May to July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Under a stone at road to a water plant at Eiði (Schenkel 1925). Among heather on slope facing SW near Sørvágsvatn at 40 m altitude (Holm 1980). Among heather and moss at Kletsbrúgv, 125 m altitude, among vegetation and debris on a sunexposed, century? old peat bank near Steinavatn, Nolsoy (Lissner, private collection). In Iceland the species has been found in dry to damp conditions in open or half-open vegetation often under stones and mainly at lower altitudes, 0-300 m (Agnarsson 1996). British habitats consist mainly of heathland and grassland with specimens often found under scattered stones and grass tussocks (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Apparently rather rare in Faroes, known from Fugloy, Nólsoy, Svínoy, Eysturoy, and Vágoy (Schenkel 1925, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). Considered common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread and common in Britain, including Scotland and Shetland (also Fair Isle) but unrecorded from Orkney (Harvey et al. 2002). Widespread in southwest, south and southeast Greenland (Marusik et al. 2006). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Family: Hahniidae (Lesser Cobweb Spiders)
This is a fairly small, clearly defined family due to the peculiar arrangement of the spinners in a transverse row. The family is represented with ca. 235 species in 26 genera. They are found in most parts of the world but are missing in some arctic areas as well as being unrecorded from some smaller islands and archipelagos. The members of Hahniidae are small to medium sized spiders ranging from 1.3-6 mm body size. They are usually found close to the ground where they construct small sheet webs in low vegetation, amongst stones, and moss or across small depressions on the ground. The spider hunts on the upper side of the sheet and apparently uses no retreat. Just one specimen from Hahnidae has been recorded on the Faroes. Brændegård (1928) reported a single specimen of Hahnia montana found on Suðuroy. It is very unlikely that the species breeds on the Faroes since it is primarily a forest species and because almost all forest has disappeared on the islands after the islands got settled due to grazing from introduced sheep.
Characters of family: The members of Hahniidae belong to the group of entelegyne ecribellate spider families having 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. The eyes are equal-sized and arranged in 2 rows of 4 with both eye rows slightly procurved. The most important character for this family is the transversely arranged row of spinners being clearly visible with a lens. The outermost (posterior) pair of spinners is long and two-segmented. The carapace is longer than wide and narrowed in head region. Sometimes there are indistinct striae radiating from the short fovea and in front of this the head region often shows reticulations. The carapace is very glossy in many species due to lack of hairs except for some forward directed ones in the midline of the head region. Lateral side of chelicerae with stridulating ridges, these are more strongly developed in males. The labium is wider than long. The legs are short but nevertheless they are fast runners. There are few spines and the trichobothria are arranged in a row as in the Agelenidae in which family some genera of Hahniidae used to belong. The female palp is furnished with a claw, which is usually toothless. The abdomen is oval and often uniformly coloured in shades of brown with some lighter coloured species having clear chevrons while these are being more indistinct in darker species. The tracheal spiracle is situated one-third to halfway from the spinners to the epigastric fold. The epigyne is flat and small. Often curved ducts and spermathecae are visible and the overall impression is rather characteristic for the family despite great variation in the shape of epigynes between species. The male palp is furnished with both a patellar and a tibial apophysis and the shape of both are important characters when identifying species under the stereomicroscope.
Genus: Hahnia C. L. Koch, 1841
This genus contains just one Faroese species which only have been found once indicating a stray specimen or that the species is very rare. It is instantly recognized by the transverse row of spinners, but due to the small size of the spider this character is only visible with a lens.
Characters of genus: The carapace is longer than broad. Eyes close together with anterior medials smaller than anterior laterals. Trapezium formed by medial eyes widest behind. Lateral sides of chelicerae are straight. Tip of sternum not truncated between coxa IV. The tracheal spiracle is situated about two-fifth of distance from the spinners to the epigastric fold. The six spinners are in a transverse row. The lateral spinners are clearly longer than the rest, and the distal segment of lateral spinners is just half as long as proximal. There is no colulus.
Hahnia montana (Blackwall, 1841) - Common comb-tailed spider
The species constructs small sheet close to the ground among moss or under stones. Among the northern European species, H. montana is the only species in which the epigyne is identifiable with a lens by its overall shape, namely the presence of two large, oval spermathecae of brownish colour. Description: Carapace greyish-greenish brown, shiny. Abdomen also greyish-greenish brown, sometimes with indistinct chevrons. Fairly densely covered with long pale hairs. Legs yellow-brown with relatively strong spines. Males may have an overall darker colouration and is slightly smaller than females. Size: Female 1.7-2 mm; male 1.5-1.8 mm. Maturity: The Faroese specimen, an adult female, was found in September. In Britain, adult females are found throughout the year while males are found adult mainly during autumn with some also found in summer and winter (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The single Faroese specimen was found under a stone in a pasture uphill Tvøoyri (Schenkel, 1925). In Britain and other parts of northern Europe this species is found in a fairly wide array of habitats including leaf litter and moss in a variety of mostly open forest types, dry heathland, wet heathland, Sphagnum bogs, grassland and coastal shingle and dunes (Harvey et al. 2002, Lissner 2010). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Suðuroy at Tvøoyri. Only found once on the Faroes on September 16, 1912 (Schenkel, 1925). Unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread but scattered in Britain including Scotland, but unrecorded for Orkney or Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Family: Linyphiidae (Line Weaving Spiders)
The Linyphiidae 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 spiders of this family dominates the spider fauna. The jumping spiders (Salticidae) is an even larger family but they generally require warmer conditions than the linyphiids and for this reason they are less well represented in the cooler regions. Linyphiids are found worldwide in all terrestrial biotopes and is perhaps the most widely distributed spider family. They 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. The members of the family build a sheet web sometimes dome shaped. 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 balloon wires impeding the flight of insects. When insects strike the vertical snares they fall down on the sheet and the spider rush to bite 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 sometimes resulting in a layer of shimmering silk covering the vegetation. The linyphiids are represented with 61 species in 40 genera on the Faroe Islands. They are by far the most dominating spiders on the islands making up two-thirds of the spider fauna.
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: Agyneta Hull, 1911
Agyneta share some morphological traits with Meioneta including tracheae extending in to the cephalothorax as well as similar structures of the secondary genital organs. This has resulted in synonymization and transfer of species from Meioneta to Agyneta (see for example Saaristo 1973 and Saaristo & Koponen 1998). However, the present view is to consider this incorrect. Millidge (1977) point out that the two genera most likely constitute two phylogenetic lines due to non-overlapping Tm I range, a view that has not yet been proven wrong (The World Spider Catalog by Platnick). There are a few other differences between the genera. Meioneta lacks a trichobothrium on metatarsus IV and possess different cheliceral teeth than Agyneta. Some Meioneta species possess lateral spines on tibia I and II. Members of Agyneta have only dorsal spines on tibia I-II. From a practical point of view, it is convenient to uphold the two genera due to the fairly high number of species. Combined the two genera totals 30 European species. Species rich genera are unhandy in terms of species identification. Identification of single females in the two genera may be difficult as the members have very similar epigynes, and it is sometimes stated that a female can be identified only from its habitat and association with the male (Saaristo & Koponen 1998). However, some help may be obtained from the degree of swelling and blackening of the female palp which differs among species. There are three Faroese species not including Agyneta nigripes which is presently assigned to Meioneta. Tibia and tarsus of female palp is markedly swollen in A. decora and A. subtilis while A. ramosa has only slightly swollen or normal, slender palps. Males are identified by the shape of the lamella. I most cases the species must be identified under the stereomicroscope.
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. Maturity: Adults have been pitfall trapped in July and August (Bengtson and Hauge 1979). In Britain males and females are found from April to September with both sexes peaking in June-July-(August)(Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland males and females peak in June (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: Bengtson and Hauge (1979) report this species from a variety of habitats, mostly grassy heaths and meadows. In Iceland the species is found in mossy grassland and meadows (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain, Agyneta decora is found in similar habitats as Agyneta subtilis: in leaf litter, among moss, grass and heather (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widely distributed on Viðoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Hestur, Koltur, Sandoy, L. Dímun, and Suðuroy, primarily below 400 m altitude and usually in low numbers (Bengtson and Hauge 1979). Known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Common on low ground up to 300 m altitude in Iceland, but has also been found at 500 m (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Agyneta ramosa Jackson, 1912
Differs from the two other brown Faroese Agyneta species by not having the palps swollen in females. Description: Carapace brown, rather elongate with eyes situated fairly close together. Legs slender, darker distally. Abdomen coloured as carapace or darker, sometimes grey to greyish black. Female palp not strongly swollen. Male palp elevated dorsally, appearing subquadratic in lateral view. Size: Female 2.0-2.5 mm; male 2.0-2.3 mm. Maturity: Faroese females were pitfall trapped between May 20 to July 2 (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Britain adults are found in May, June, and July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The Faroese specimens where found at an infield site at the farm Sund (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Britain the species is found in moss in damp areas, in leaf litter, under objects on bare ground, and in dry Nardus grass heath (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Only known from Sund, Streymoy where five females were pitfall trapped in 1984 (Bengtson et al. 2004). The species occurs very scattered in Scotland and is absent from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002) and Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Agyneta subtilis (O. P.-Cambridge, 1863)
Recorded for the first time in 1984 (Bengtson et al. 2004). Only a single male has been found on the islands. Since the species is mainly southern in Britain the Faroese record is perhaps a stray specimen. Description: Carapace brown. Abdomen grey to black. Legs orange brown or brown with tibiae I and metatarsus I darker. Female palp strongly swollen. Male palp elevated dorsally, appearing subquadratic in lateral view. Size: Female 2.0-2.7 mm; male 2.0-2.5 mm. Maturity: The single known Faroese male was collected in June. In Britain males are found from May to July and females from May to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Outfield at low elevation (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Britain this species is found in a variety of habitats including leaf litter, moss and grass (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Kunoy, just north of the settlement at 40 m altitude. Also known from scattered records in Scotland but is absent from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Icelandic records are doubtful (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Genus: Allomengea Strand, 1912
Just one recently discovered Faroese species (Lissner 2009).
Characters of genus: Small to medium-sized spiders with European species ranging from 2.9-5.6 mm in body length (van Helsdingen 1974). Carapace not modified in males. Eyes subequal with anterior medials slightly smaller than the others. Chelicerae with well-developed stridulating ridges. Abdomen with or without a pattern. Legs long and thin. Femora without spines, tibia with several spines including ventral ones, metatarsi I and II with one ventral spine only (occasionally none), metatarsi III and IV with more numerous spines. Tm I 0.65-0.80. Metatarsi IV with a trichobothrium (A. scopigera has several trichobothria in addition to principal one). The males of the genus are easily recognized by the palp, which is armed with a bunch of stout spines arising from the tip of a horn-like projection of the cymbium. Epigyne is formed as a small to large more or less triangular sclerotized projection depending on species.
Allomengea scopigera (Grube, 1859) - Greater bristle-palped line weaver
This species is one of the largest linyphiid species occurring on the Faroes. Males are easily recognized by the group of stout spines on palps and females by the tongue to triangular shaped large scape of epigyne. Description: The carapace and legs are orange brown. Eyes of subequal size, the anterior medials close together, the lateral eyes touching. The abdomen is yellow brown to grey, dorsum sometimes with greyish bars. TM I 0.74-0.80 (van Helsdingen 1974). Leg IV longer than leg I in both sexes. Spination of tibiae distinctly different from the other species of the genus (van Helsdingen 1974). In addition to the principal trichobothria there is a series of 2-3 shorter trichobothria on all metatarsi (not present in other species). The male palp is provided with a number of closely grouped stout spines easily visible with a lens. The female epigyne is also characteristic and consists of a large triangular sclerotized projection intermediate in size compared to the smaller one of A. vidua and the larger one of A. dentisetis. Size: Female 4-5.5 mm; male 4-4.5 mm. Maturity: The species has only been collected in August on three occasions in the Faroes (two times at Toftavatn), at which month adults of both sexes were found (own collection data). Adults of both sexes are found from August to October in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain adults are found from August to November (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: In the Faroes this species has been found in some numbers (5♂, 7♀) in wetland vegetation along banks of lakes (own collection data). Common in the lowland (up to 200-300 m) in Iceland in open and damp grass- or scrubland, especially near banks of water bodies and on salt marshes (Agnarsson 1996). The species is found in similar habitats in Britain but in addition also frequently in dry heathler habitats (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: At Lake Toftavatn, Eysturoy and at the eastern bank of Lake Grothusvatn, Sandoy (own collection data). The species was recorded for the first time in 2008 at Toftavatn by Rodmund á Kelduni and a new locality at Grothusvatn was discovered in 2009. The species is common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996), Scotland and Orkney but is absent from Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Baryphyma Simon, 1884
Just one, recently discovered Faroese species.
Characters of genus: A group of species with rather similar palpal organs and epigynes. Carapaces of males usually with dome shaped-elevation. The shape of the elevation in lateral view is an important character aiding identification. The shapes of the male palpal tibiae and tibial apophyses are equally important. Male palps are generally relatively large compared to size of prosoma. All species possess rows of stout bristles beneath the anterior femora and tibia (Millidge 1977). Tm I 0.75-0.95, Tm IV present (Roberts 1985). Tibiae I and II with two dorsal spines, tibiae III and IV with one dorsal spine (Millidge 1977).
Baryphyma trifrons (O. P.-Cambridge, 1863)
Males are probably identifiable in the field with a hand lens by the form of the carapace, the relative large palps and the contrasting colouring of legs and body. At its only known Faroese locality (the sand dunes at Mølheyggjar) there is hardly any other linyphiid with similar appearance. Females are less characteristic and difficult to identify in the field, however the conrasting colouring of legs and body should provide a clue. Size: Female 1.9-2.1 mm; male 1.7-1.8 mm. Maturity: A female has been found in June (own collection data). In Britain males have been found from April to July, females persisting to October with a peak in June and July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The species has been found among marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) growing on sand dunes (own collection data). In Britain the species is found in similar habitat, but has alse been recorded from tussocks of Deschampsia cespitosa in damp habitats (Harvey et al. 2002). This grass species is common throughout the Faroes (Jóhansen 2000) and perhaps it also serves as habitat in the Faroes. Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Sandoy at Mølheyggjar. Recorded for the first time on the Faroes in 2010 (Lissner, private collection). Only one female is known from the islands. Widespread but local in Scotland and Orkney, but unrecorded for Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Also unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Genus: Bathyphantes Menge, 1866
Just one Faroese species in genus.
Characters of genus: Palp of female with tarsal claw. Legs rather long and slender. All tibiae with two dorsal spines, metatarsi spineless (Locket & Millidge 1953).
Bathyphantes gracilis (Blackwall, 1841)
Description: Carapace brown to dark brown, not elevated in male. Abdomen variable in colour, sometimes uniform in colour varying from light brown to black. The most common variety has black triangular chevrons on a brown or olive-green background. However abdomens of Faroese specimens inspected so far have been uniformly dark coloured. Legs yellow-brown. Tm IV absent. Position of Tm I 0.25-0.30 (Roberts 1985). Size: Female 2.0-2.5 mm; male 1.5-2.0 mm. Maturity: Only five females have been collected in the Faroes. A female was pitfall trapped on Kunoy between July 15 and August 10 (Bengtson & Hauge 1979), the remaining four females were collected in June (own collection data). In Britain adults of both sexes are found throughout the year, but mostly in summer and autumn (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: West facing rich grass-herb meadow on Kunoy (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Among vegetation on the banks of ditches in a small park by the church in Hvalvik; among Calluna dominated vegetation at lake Toftavatn; among moist vegetation near the beach where the river Sandaa meets the sea, and in grass tussucks at the Sandagerð beach. Elsewhere in northern Europe the species is found commonly in undergrowth and grasslands with a preference for humid habitats. Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding confirmed. Range: Kunoy near church (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Since 2010 it has been recorded from four additional localities, Sandagerð (Tórshavn, Streymoy), mouth of river Sandaa (Tórshavn, Streymoy), Hvalvik (Streymoy), and at the shore of lake Toftavatn (Eysturoy). Occurs in Scotland, Orkney, and Shetland (only Fair Isle) according to Harvey et al. (2002). In Iceland the species has apparently increased its range since it was recorded for the first time in 1974 (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Bolephthyphantes Strand, 1901
Bolephthyphantes index (Thorell, 1856)
A winter active species that have been observed to build its web across depressions in snow. Description: Carapace yellow brown with darker median and marginal bands (Nentwig et al. 2003). Sternum greyish yellow brown. Chelicers light yellow. Legs coloured as carapace. Abdomen is dark grey, dorsally with numerous white spots. Male with strong forward directed hairs in cephalic region (Marusik in prep.) very similar to Bolyphantes luteolus, a similar sized species which overlap in distribution (perhaps not in altitude range). Size: 2.5-3.4 mm. Maturity: No data available for the Faroes. In Iceland adults are mainly found from November to April (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: In Iceland the species is found in a variety of habitats but most commonly in birch coppice and forest and other luxuriant vegetation (Agnarsson 1996). In Siberia the species is found in open grassy meadows and heather (Marusik in prep.). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Suðuroy at Trongisvágur. Only found once in 1892 by Gaston Buchet and identified by E. Simon (Simon 1898). Brændegaard (1928) assume that the specimen was accidentally introduced which is supported by the fact that still no further specimens have been found. The species is absent from Britain (Harvey et al., 2002). In Iceland it is considered a common species (Agnarsson 1996). The species has only been recorded once in southwest Greenland (Marusik in prep.) More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Genus: Bolyphantes C. L. Koch, 1837
Characters of genus: Fairly large linyphiidsof the subfamily Micronetinae having body lengths up to 5 mm (Saaristo & Tanasesevitch 2000). In some species the male carapace is elevated in the ocular area which is furnished with numerous forward directed bristles. Carapace only somewhat raised in female. Abdomen with pattern. Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium. Legs long and slender and well armed with spines. Femora without dorsal spines. Tibiae and metatarsi with numerous spines. Tm I 0.15-0.18 (Saaristo & Tanasesevitch 2000). Abdomen with pattern. Males have a stout spine on the palpal patella.
Bolyphantes luteolus (Blackwall, 1833)
Description: The carapace is brown sometimes with a more or less distinct dark median stripe. In some specimens dark lateral bands are present as well. The female clypeus is distinctly concave. Eyes are ringed with black. The male has the projecting eyeregion being rounded. The male palpal patellar spine is stout with the apical end jagged like a broken stick. Legs are brown with no markings. The abdomen of both sexes are light yellow brown with many small white patches. There is a dark median stripe and some dark blotches at the sides. Size: Female 3.5-4 mm; male 3-3.5 mm. Maturity: Data of Schenkel (1925), Brændegaard (1928), Bengtson et al. (2004) and Lissner (2009) indicate that the species mature in August with adults persisting to April-May and that only immatures are found in June and July. In Britain adults of both sexes are found all year but mainly between August and December (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Mainly under stones but also among heather, grass and similar herbage (Schenkel 1925, Brændegaard 1928). In Britain the species is recorded from a variety of habitats such as grassland, heathland and moorland at which sites the spider can be found under stones, amongst low vegetation or in bushes such as heather (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: A fairly common species recorded from Svínoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Koltur, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. Also known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species is absent from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Centromerita Dahl, 1912
The occurrence of two different species on the Faroes was not recognized until 1979 (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Previous workers apparently considered all records belonging to either Centromerita bicolor or Centromerita concinna. However, both species are common on the Faroes, the latter species being the commonest as in most of the range both species co-occur. Centromerita bicolor is a larger species than Centromerita concinna. Besides this there are no characters to separate the species unless using a stereomicroscope or alternatively photographing specimens at high magnification to observe the development of spines in the head area or the distance between posterior median eyes. Both these characters differs among the species (see species descriptions).
Characters of genus: All tibiae with two dorsal spines, lateral spines and some stout spines ventrally (Locket & Millidge 1953). Metatarsus without a trichobothrium. Femora I and II each with a dorsal and prolateral spine. The male palpal tibia has a bunch of stout serrated bristles.
Centromerita bicolor (Blackwall, 1833)
Description: Carapace and legs unicoloured brown to dark brown. Posterior median eyes one diameter or more apart. Male head with a number of forward directed spines, fewer in females. Abdomen brown to dark brown. If brown then the abdomen has the same colour as the carapace and legs. If dark brown then the abdomen is darker than the carapace and legs. Size: 3.0-3.5 mm. Maturity: Probably all year. Adult Faroese specimens in my collection were collected in August and September (own collection data). In Britain adults are mainly found in autumn, winter and spring (Harvey et al. 2002). No maturity data are available for the specimens collected by Bengtson & Hauge (1979) and Bengtson et al. (2004). Habitat: Grass and dwarf shrub heath (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Also found on a sand dune and in a Sphagnum wetland (own collection data). In Iceland the species is found in a wide variety of habitats however most commonly in damp grassland and in birch scrub/forest (Agnarsson 1996). According to Harvey et al. (2002) this species prefers taller grasses than Centromerita concinna and is scarcer on heathland. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Fugloy, Svínoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Koltur, Sandoy, L. Dímun, and Suðuroy. Also known from Scotland and Orkney but not from Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species was recorded for the first time in Iceland in 1966 but has now become a very common species in the south and southwest of Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Centromerita concinna (Thorell, 1875)
Description: Carapace brown to dark brown sometimes with a dark margin. Posterior median eyes less than one diameter apart. Male head with short spines, almost absent in females. Abdomen brown to dark brown. If brown then the abdomen has the same colour as the carapace and legs. If dark brown then the abdomen is darker than the carapace and legs. Size: Female 2.0-3.0 mm; male 2.0-2.6 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in May and adults of both sexes in August and September (own collection data). In Britain adults are found all year with a minimum in August and September (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found in grassland, heathland, and on stony ground (own collection data). In Britain this species is common in wide variety of habitats and abundant on heathland and moorland (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: A common species on the Faroe Islands. Known from Fugloy, Svínoy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Mykines, Koltur, Sandoy, Skúvoy, L. Dímun, and Suðuroy. Also known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002) but not Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Centromerus Dahl, 1886
The three Faroese species differ in leg spination or size. Females are separable by their epigynal scapes which are visible with a lens (18x magnification). Centromerus dilutus is clearly the smallest species, having only one dorsal spine on tibia IV and a very long and slender scapus (length ca. 10 times diameter) ,barely visible with a lens. Centromerus arcanus is larger, also having only one dorsal spine on tibia IV and fairly thick scapus (length ca. 5 times diameter). Centromerus prudens is about the same size as C. arcanus, but has two dorsal spines on tibia IV and a very short scapus (length ca. 1.5 times diameter). Males are not easy to separate with a lens except that Centromerus dilutus males are clearly smaller than males of the two other species. The shape of the male paracymbium readily separates the species but a stereomicroscope is needed to view such small details.
Characters of genus: Legs fairly short and stout (Locket & Millidge 1953). Metatarsi I and II with a small dorsal spine. Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium. Tibia I sometimes with a prolateral spine. Tibia IV with one or two dorsal spines. Epigyne with a scape in most species.
Centromerus arcanus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1873)
Description: Carapace pale yellow to brown. Sternum yellow, reticulated faintly with black and sometimes margined with black (Locket & Millidge 1953). Abdomen brown (as carapace and legs) or grey to blackish grey. Legs pale yellow to brown as carapace. Tibia IV with one dorsal spine. Female epigyne with long scapus, about 5 times longer than wide. Size: Female 2.0-2.5 mm; male 1.6-2.4 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in July and August (Bengtson and Hauge 1979, Holm 1980). Males have been pitfall trapped between in May 3 and June 8. In Britain adults have been collected in most months of the year, however mainly from April to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Moss in a meadow at 180-200 m altitude (Holm 1980), grass heath, meadows and in a plantation (Bengtson & Hauge 1979) and shrub heath (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Britain the species is found under rocks in mountainous areas and among moss, grass, leaf litter in coniferous woodland and acidic bogs (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, and Vágar. The commonest species of the genus but rather rare, males have only been found one one occasion (Bengtson et al. 2004). Known from Scotland and Shetland but not Orkney (Harvey et al. 2002). The species has not been recorded in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Centromerus dilutus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1875)
Description: A fairly small member of the genus. Carapace yellow brown to brown sometimes with darker striae. Abdomen grey to blackish. Legs yellow to yellow brown often paler than carapace. Leg spines rather short and fine (Locket & Millidge 1953). Tibia IV with one dorsal spine only. The epigynal scape is about 10 times longer than wide and require good light to be viewable using a lens. Size: Female 1.2-1.6 mm; male 1.2-1.5 mm. Maturity: The single Faroese female was pitfall trapped between July 14 and August 11. In Britain adults of both sexes are found throughout the year with a minimum in August and September. Habitat: Among heather at 400 m altitude (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). In Britain the species is found in detritus in forests and in heathland, moorland and grassland up to 700 m altitude (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Keldufjall on Svínoy. Only recorded once on the Faroes (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Widespread in Britain but absent from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 1996). The species has not been recorded on Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Centromerus prudens (O. P.-Cambridge, 1873)
Description: Carapace yellow to yellow brown (Locket & Millidge 1953). Abdomen is grey. Legs coloured as carapace with relatively long and stout spines. Epigynal scapus relatively short and wide, about 1.5 longer than wide. Tibia IV with two dorsal spines. Size: 2.3-2.5 mm. Maturity: Females have been pitfall trapped between July 6 and August 2 (Bengtson et al. 2004). At the second Faroese locality both males and females were pitfall trapped during "summer" (Bengtson et al. 2004). Agnarsson (1996) reports the maturity season for males and females as September -? for Iceland. Harvey et al. (2002) provide data for an all year maturity season for females while males are only found from September to May. Habitat: Rich grass and herbage (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Iceland the species has been recorded in rich meadow vegetation, in tall grassland and on one occasion beneath at stone (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain the habitats are recorded as being typically dry: sand dunes, sandy or rocky grassland and heathland (Harvey et al. 1996). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Suðuroy. Only known from two places at Sandvík (Bengtson et al. 2004). Widespread in Britain, including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 1996). The species is rare on Iceland but few findings may relate to it being a winter active species (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Ceratinella Emerton, 1882
Characters of genus: Compact dark spiders with coriaceous abdomens (Locket & Millidge 1953). The male carapace is slightly domed in head region. The legs are short and robust with metatarsi equal or slightly longer than tarsi. Tibial spines very short and resemble hairs. The abdomen is globular in females, less so in males. A dorsal scutum is present in many species.
Ceratinella brevipes (Westring, 1851)
Description: Carapace dark brown to blackish. Legs reddish brown sometimes with segments distal to patella lighter. The abdomen is blackish, coriaceous and without scutum in females. Two pairs of sigilla are present, less distinct in males. The scutum and sigilla are difficult to see on live specimens but usually very distinct on alcohol preserved specimens. Size: Female 1.6-1.8 mm; male 1.3-1.5 mm. Maturity: Males and females have been collected in May, June, July and August (Lissner 2010, Holm 1980, Bengtson and Hauge 1979, Brændegård 1928). In Britain adults have been recorded almost year-round, however with a main activity period from April to July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The spider has been found in a variety of situations. Brændegård (1928) found a single specimen on a slope below the turf. Bengtson & Hauge (1979) report the species from an infield meadow and a plantation. Holm (1980) recorded the species by sweeping heather and sifting moss amongst grass on a slope. Own habitat data (own collection data) include dwarf-shrub heath and outfield grassland. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Fairly common on Fugloy, Svínoy, Viðoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágar, and Sandoy. Widespread in Britain including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Also fairly common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Collinsia (Thorell 1871)
Characters of genus: Male head not elevated. Metatarsi slightly longer than tarsi. Tibia I-III with two spines, IV with only one (Locket & Millidge 1953).
Collinsia holmgreni (Thorell, 1871)
Description: Carapace yellow brown to brown. Sternum yellow and suffused and reticulated with black (Locket & Millidge 1953). Abdomen grey to black. Size: Female 2.0-2.5 mm; male 1.9-2.2 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in May, July and August (Brændegård 1928, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). Males have been found in July and August (Schenkel 1925, Holm 1980). Bengtson et al. (2004) pitfall trapped nine males and seventeen females mainly in late July and August. In Scotland adults have been found from May to September (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland the majority of adult records are from July and August (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: Grounds with sparse alpine vegetation or barren areas with stones. Specimens have been found under stones (Holm 1980, Lissner 2010) and in Grimmia pulvinata tufts (Schenkel 1925). In Iceland the species is mainly found under stones but also among vegetation in a variety of open vegetation types, often in humid low vegetation or in sparsely vegetated areas (Agnarsson 1996). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: A high ground species found on Eysturoy, Streymoy, and Kunoy at altitudes of 270-882 m (Schenkel 1925, Brændegård 1928, Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Known from Scottish mountains mainly above 900 m but has been recorded down to 500m (Harvey et al. 2002). A very common highland species in Iceland at altitudes of 500-1200 m (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Diplocentria Hull, 1911
Characters of genus: Male head not elevated. Eyes large, all about 0.5 diameter apart (Locket & Millidge 1953). Tibiae I-III with two spines, IV with just one. Metatarsi longer than tarsi (leg I: 1.2 times; leg IV: 1.7 times).
Diplocentria bidentata (Emerton, 1882)
Description: Carapace yellow brown. Eyes large and situated fairly close together, all about 0.5 diameter apart (Locket & Millidge 1953). Legs yellow brown to brown, similar coloured as carapace. Abdomen is grey. Size: Female 1.8-2.2 mm; male 1.6-1.9 mm. Maturity: July and August (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). This is in agreement with British data of Harvey et al. (2002) but less so with Locket & Millidge (1953) who gives the adult period as autumn and winter. In Iceland adult males are found from May to July, peaking in June and females only in July (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: Among heather, grass heath and rich grass (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Holm (1980) found the species amongst moss in moist meadows. In Iceland Agnarsson (1996) describes the habitat as damp, half closed to closed vegetation. It is found in a variety of habitats in Britain: in moss, grass, under stones, and woodland litter (Harvey et al. 2002, Locket & Millidge 1953). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, and Streymoy. Local on the Faroes but then sometimes abundant (Bengtson et al. 2004). Holm (1980) reports the species from Middagsfjall, 180 m and a south facing slope east of Klaksvík, 160 m. In Britain the species is scattered in Scotland but absent from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland it is mainly found in the lowland up to 300 m and is considered rather rare (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Diplocephalus Bertkau, 1883
The two Faroese species are very similar in general appearance, except for Diplocephalus permixtus being a smaller species than Diplocephalus cristatus but with is some overlap in size. In both species the male carapace is raised into two lobes divided by a transverse groove appearing quite similar in lateral view. In Diplocephalus permixtus the carapace is relatively longer compared to the size of the spider projecting considerable over chelicerae. Thus, when viewed from above the males have clearly different carapaces. However, species identification with a lens of live specimens is difficult due to the small sizes of the species and reliable identification requires examination of male palps and female epigynes of alcohol preserved specimens under the stereomicroscope.
Characters of genus: Male head elevated in to a variety of lobes (Locket & Millidge 1953). Tibiae I-II with two spines, III-IV with just one spine (spines sometimes reduced or absent in males). Metatarsi longer than tarsi: leg I: 1.2-1.3 times, leg IV: 1.5-1.6 times (Locket & Millidge 1953).
Diplocephalus cristatus (Blackwall, 1833)
Description: Carapace brown to greyish black. Striae not visible in live specimens. Male head elevated anteriorly divided by a transverse groove. Eyes fairly large in female and posterior medials are about 0.7 diameter apart and about 0.5 diameter apart from laterals. Eyes are smaller in males and due to the elevation of the head farther apart (2-3 diameter between posterior medials and laterals). Abdomen is grey to black. Legs are grey (recently moulted specimens?) to reddish brown. Size: Female 1.8-2.5 mm; male 1.7-2.1 mm. Maturity: Males have been found in April and June, females from April to September (Schenkel 1925, Brændegård 1928, Lissner 2010).The main activity season in Iceland is June to August although adults have been found from April to September (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain adults have been recorded throughout the year with males peaking in May and June (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Under stones and other object on the ground in infield and outfield grassland and sandy seashore, also found in a plantation (Brændegård 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). According to Agnarsson (1996) this species is mostly found under stones in dry grassland. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: A fairly common species known from Fugloy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Koltur, and Suðuroy. Known from Scotland and Orkney but not Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species is common on low ground in southern Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Diplocephalus permixtus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1871)
Description: Carapace brown to greyish black. Striae not visible in live specimens. Male head elevated anteriorly divided by a transverse groove. Male carapace rather elongate and projecting considerably over chelicerae. In the female posterior medials are about 0.8 diameter apart and about 0.5 diameter apart from laterals. Eyes are smaller in males and due to the elevation of the head farther apart (2.5 diameter between posterior medials and laterals). Abdomen is grey to black. Legs are brown to yellow brown. Tibia I spineless in males. Size: Female 1.6-1.9 mm; male 1.5-1.9 mm. Maturity: Adults have been found in July and August (Bengtson and Hauge 1979, Holm 1980). Bengtson et al. (2004) made many finds of this species but maturity data is not available to me. In Britain adults of both sexes are found throughout the year with peaks from April to June and October to November (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Bengtson and Hauge found no clear pattern with regard to habitat preference but found the species in both infield and heath localities. Holm (1980) found a female under a stone on gravelly ground with sparse vegetation. The species is normally considered to be a wetland species requiring places with relatively high moisture. But perhaps the oceanic climate of the Faroes allows this species to occupy habitats outside wetlands. In Britain this species is found beneath low vegetation in a variety of wetlands, including brackish coastal wetlands (Harvey et al. 2002). The few Icelandic records have been made in the vicinity of hot springs (Agnarsson 1996). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread and sometimes abundant on the Faroes (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Bengtson et al. 2004). Known from Borðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Hestur, L. Dímun, and Suðuroy. Also known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species has only been recorded three times on Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Drepanotylus Holm, 1945
Characters of genus: Both sexes domed behind the eyes. All tibiae with two dorsal spines, tibia I with an additional prolateral spine.
Drepanotylus uncatus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1873)
Description: Carapace brown to dark brown, characteristically shaped with a protruding head having an almost straight anterior edge. The carapace is domed behind the eyes in both sexes which is best observed in lateral view. The carapace is provided with a median row of stout bristles and some hairs in the ocular area. Legs are orange brown. Leg spines weak. The abdomen is yellow brown to black. Male palpal tibia with prominent curved apophysis ending in a hook. Female epigyne heart-shaped but difficult to discern with a lens. Size: Female 2.5-3.2 mm; male 2.5-3.0 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in July (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Fourteen adult specimens pitfall trapped by Bengtson et al. (2004) were mainly caught during the months September to May. The species may be underrecorded on the Faroes as most collecting activity have taken place during summer months. In Britain adults are mainly found from September to April (Harvey et al. 2002). Considered a winter active species in Iceland with adults occurring in October to November and spring (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: Found in grass heaths, often near brooks and in one wet north facing mountain site (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). No precise habitat data is available for the specimens collected by Bengtson et al. (2004). In Britain the species is usually found in wet habitats such as marshes and bogs (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland this species has been found mires and other wet habitats (Agnarsson 1996). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: First Faroese records were made in 1978 (Bengtson and Hauge 1979). Known from 8 different localities on Eysturoy, Streymoy, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. Scattered in Scotland , Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Rare on Iceland but perhaps attributed to lack of collecting activity during period with adults (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Entelecara Simon, 1884
There is just one very rare Faroese species which is difficult to identify in the field.
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 errata O. P.-Cambridge, 1913
Only found twice in the Faroes. Agnarsson (1996) list one record of the very similar Entelecara media for Iceland, but the specimen could not be located for confirmation of identification. Also the similar Entelecara erythropus is listed from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Description: Carapace dark brown. Female anterior medial eyes smaller than laterals and posterior medials. Male anterior medials slightly smaller than posterior medials. Male head domed behind anterior medial eyes carrying the posterior medial eyes. A sulcus containing a small pit runs back from each posterior lateral eye. Legs are light brown. Metatarsus IV with a trichobothrium, but often difficult to see. The abdomen is black. Size: Female 1.5-1.9 mm; male 1.5-1.7 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in June (Holm 1980, Lissner, private collection). A subadult male collected in June matured in captivity in July (Lissner, private collection). Adults are found from April to July in Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Under stones in Empetrum heath at 340 m altitude (Holm 1980). Under small stones in sparsely vegetated area near the top of Kirkjubøreyn at similar altitude (Lissner, private collection). Apparently very local, but then in some numbers within a small area. Despite searching a large area of potential habitat on both Húsareyn and Kirkjubøreyn, I only found the species at one site measuring a few square meters. In Britain this species is primarily a high ground species occurring on mountain tops under stones (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Húsareyn on Streymoy (Holm 1980) and nearby Kirkjubøreyn (Lissner, private collection). Very local in Scotland but unrecorded from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Not known from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik, in prep.). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Erigone Audouin, 1826
There are five Faroese species in this genus which are rather similar in general appearance. Species identification with a lens of live specimens is difficult due to the small sizes of the species. They are to some extent separable by size, habitat and shape of patellar apophysis of palps (males only, considerable intraspecific variation), but reliable identification requires examination of male palps and female epigynes of alcohol preserved specimens under the stereomicroscope.
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 arctica (White, 1852)
Description: Carapace dark brown to black with dentate edges prominent in males. Male chelicerae with pronounced warts but not visible with a lens. Female abdomen brown to black, male abdomen dark brown to black. Legs yellow-brown to brown. Size: Female 2.6-3.4 mm; male 2.6-3.2 mm. Maturity: Adults have been found in May, July, August and September (Schenkel 1925, Brændegård 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Lissner 2010). In Britain adults are found during May, June and July and in low numbers in most other months of the year (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland adults of both sexes are mainly found in April, May and June (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: Meadows and rich vegetation near settlements (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). These authors also reported numerous specimens from a sand dune with Ammophila at Sandur. Other authors have found specimens under stones and amongst seaweed on the sea shore and on the banks of beach lakes (Schenkel 1925, Brændegård 1928, Holm 1980). In Britain this species is found under objects on the seashore such as stones, seaweed and other detritus (Harvey et al. 2002). It is also found in coastal grassland and further inland, mostly at gravelly sites. In Iceland the species is found in open or sparse vegetation most frequently under stones (Agnarsson 1996). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Common on the Faroes. Known from Viðoy, Borðoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Mykines, Hestur, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. Widespread along coastline of Britain including Scotland, Orkney, and Shetland, being much less frequent at inland sites (Harvey et al. 2002). Widespread and common in Iceland where it is found from the seashore to the central highland up to 700 m altitude (Agnarsson 1996), thus not clearly coastal in distribution. More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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. Maturity: Adults have been found from April to October (Brændegård 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, own collection data). In Britain adults are found all year with a peak in summer (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland adults have been found from March to October with males peaking April-June and females May-June (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: On the Faroes this species is found in a wide array of habitats. On cliffs near lake banks (Brændegård 1928), amongst grass, in a bog and under stone on seashore (Holm 1980), on grass heaths, on meadows and in one plantation (Bengtson & Hauge 1979) and in rich infield grassland (own collection data). In Britain this species is found at ground level in low vegetation or under objects on the ground (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland the species is found in a wide variety of habitats, most commonly in damp grassland and often under stones (Agnarsson 1996). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widely distributed and locally abundant on the Faroes. Known from Fugloy, Svínoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Koltur, Sandoy, Skúvoy, St. Dímun, L. Dímun, and Suðuroy. Widespread in Scotland and Orkney, but apparently less common on Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Common in the lowland of Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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. Maturity: April to October (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). In Britain adults are mainly found during June- August, but have been found in low numbers almost all times of the year (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats, mostly grass heaths and infields (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Brændegaard (1928) reports the species from under stones, in a dry stone wall, and among hay in a field. Holm (1980) found the species under stones and amongst moss in moist meadows and bogs. In Britain the species is recorded from coastal sand dunes, heathland, blanket bogs, machair, grassland and shingle (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread on the Faroes. Known from Fugloy, Svínoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Mykines, Koltur, Sandoy, Skúvoy, and Suðuroy. Widespread in northern Britain including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland and is found at altitudes up to 600 m. Unrecorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Erigone psychrophila Thorell, 1871
Description: Carapace dark brown to black with dentate edges prominent in males but absent in females. Male chelicerae with large warts anteriorly. Male palpal femur with teeth extending to about two thirds of its length and sometimes also one additional large tooth at apical end. Patellar apophysis is long curved and tapering. Male palpal tibia without a ventral tooth. Female abdomen yellow-brown to black, male abdomen dark brown to black. Legs yellow-brown to orange-brown. Size: Female 2.4-3.1 mm; male 2.0-3.0 mm. Maturity: Only limited data is available for the Faroes. Adults have been found in June, July and August (Brændegaard 1928, Holm 1980). In Britain adults have been found from April to September (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland adults are found from May to October with males peaking in June and July and females in June-August (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: Amongst moss in springs, bogs and by brooks (Schenkel 1925, Holm 1980). In Britain the species is found in very damp situations such as amongst Sphagnum at the edge of bog pools and under overhanging vegetation, more rarely under stones (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat in Iceland is wetlands on high ground, but is occasionally also found in salt marshes (Agnarsson 1996). See also Marusik (in prep). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: A boreo-arctic and alpine species. Local on Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, and Streymoy at altitudes above 100 m to at least 620 m. In Britain this species is very local on Scottish high ground above 800 m altitude (Harvey et al. 2002, Roberts 1987) which are the southernmost records of this species (Marusik in prep.). Locally very common in Iceland at altitudes of 300-1000 m but rare in the lowland (Agnarsson 1996). Also found in most parts of Greenland (Marusik in prep.) More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Erigone tirolensis L. Koch, 1872
Description: Carapace dark brown to black with dentate edges prominent in males, minute or absent in females. Male chelicers with 6-7 fairly large warts on anterior surface (Locket & Millidge 1953). but these are not visible with a lens. Female abdomen brown to black, male abdomen dark brown to black. Legs yellow-brown to brown. Male palpal femur almost straight, ventral teeth distributed along practically whole length. Size: Female 2.2-2.8 mm; male 2.1-2.5 mm. Maturity: Data is limited for the Faroes. Adults have been found in May, June and July (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). In Scotland adults have been found from May to September (Harvey et al. 2002). Males and females have been found from May to September but mainly in July and August (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: Fell fields with grasses, Silene acaulis and Rhacomitrium (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Under stones on stony ground with sparse vegetation (Holm 1980). In Britain under stones on mountains (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland Agnarsson (1996) describe the habitat as damp open or half open vegetation or in sparsely vegetated areas and under stones in dry areas. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Circumpolar, arctic and alpine. Kunoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, and Mykines at altitudes of 210 m to 880 m. In Britain the species is mainly known from high mountain tops in Scotland (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland the species is very common in the central highland and other high grounds from 200-1200 m altitude (Agnarsson 1996). Also known from the northern parts of south-east Greenland (Marusik in prep.). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Gonatium Menge, 1868
This genus has been reviewed by Millidge (1981). It is possible to recognise the members by the following combination of somatic characters: leg spination, presence of a trichobothrium on metatarsus IV, value of Tm I, and by the way the tarsal claws are pectinated (see description below). The genus is, however, also defined by the structure of the genitals which share characters thought to be derived (see Millidge (1981) for details). There is only one, common Faroese species which has a distinct reddish appearance. Adults are identifiable in the field using a lens due to the swollen palpal femur of males and the fairly characteristic epigyne of females.
Characters of genus: The species range in size from 2.0-3.7 mm. The cephalothorax and legs are bright orange, orange red or reddish brown. The male head carries no lobe but is slightly raised. Sternum at least as wide as long with coxae IV widely separated. Legs fairly long and slender. Leg spines are short, shorter and weaker in males than in females. Males have tibia I and to a lesser degree tibia II curved and swollen distally. They are furnished ventrally with many long hairs or bristles. Also metatarsi I and II and femora I and II are provided with many short spines or bristles ventrally. There is a single spine on each tibia in both sexes. All metatarsi with a trichobothrium. Tm I range from 0.75-0.95 (Millidge 1981). The tarsal claws are pectinated, consisting of narrow, needle-like teeth. The pectination is different in almost all other groups of spiders with pectinate claws (Millidge 1981). Abdomen globular, often reddish with four sigilla dorsally. There is no scutum. The male palpal femur is swollen in some species. The epigynes of all Gonatium species have the same general appearance, and depending on the number of species at a given locality specimens may be identifiable with a lens.
Gonatium rubens (Blackwall, 1833)
Description: Both sexes entirely orange to reddish-brown with abdomen sometimes darker, usually reddish grey, rarely blackish. Abdomen with four distinct sigilla. Males have prominent head region and rather closely spaced eyes ringed with black. Tibia I is curved, thickened distally and with denser hairing ventrally. Male palpal tibia and femur swollen, the latter with numerous small black spines and with a single, pointed tooth distally. Size: Female 2.6-3.3 mm; male 2.5-2.7 mm. Maturity: On the Faroes adults have been found in April and May (females only) and in July, August, and September (Schenkel 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). In Britain adults have been found all year but mainly in July-November with an additional female peak in April-May (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland adult males are found in August-September and females in May-June and in September (Agnarsson 1996). Habitat: The species occupies habitats that cover large areas on the Faroes and is common. According to Bengtson & Hauge (1979) it is mostly found in grass heaths but also in richer vegetation and in plantations. Amongst moss in the mountains and heather (Holm 1980). Meadows and pastures (own collection data). Under a stone (Schenkel 1925). Occurs in a wide variety of habitats throughout Britain including heath- and moorland in mountains, amongst Sphagnum in upland blanket bogs as well as many lowland habitats (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland the species is found in a variety of habitats, most often in damp open vegetation or half-closed damp or dry vegetation (Agnarsson 1996). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread and common on the Faroes up to at least 480 m. Known from Fugloy, Viðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Hestur, Koltur, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. Widespread in Britain, including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Considered common in Iceland up to altitudes of 600-700 m (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Gongylidiellum Simon, 1884
Characters of genus: The genus contains mostly small species less than 2 mm body length. Genus characters are not visible with a hand lens but require a stereomicroscope. Male head not elevated. Apparently, males use sound production in courtship as the branchial opercula are provided with stridulating ridges opposing a tooth-like outgrowth on coxae IV. Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium. Tibiae I-II with two spines, III-IV with just one.
Gongylidiellum vivum (O. P.-Cambridge, 1875)
Description: Small species with reddish brown carapace and pale, yellowish, grey or brownish grey abdomen. Males are generally darker than females. At closer inspection abdomens of lighter coloured specimens are mottled whitish grey - light yellowish grey. The median line of the carapace has some long, forward directed spines. Eyes relatively large and the eye group appears rather compact. Legs orange brown. Males may be identified in the field using a lens by the shape of the tibial apophysis viewed from above. Size: Female 1.5-1.8 mm; male 1.2-1.5 mm. Maturity: Adults have been found in summer and winter on the Faroes (Bengtson et al. 2004). Holm (1980) reports a single female from June. In Britain adults of both sexes have been found throughout the year with the highest number recorded during the period May - September (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Among moss in heath (Holm, 1980), infields, grass heaths and dwarf shrub (Bengtson & Hauge, 1979). In Britain the species is found in moss, grass and leaf litter. The species has a preference for undisturbed, well-vegetated grasslands and damp conditions (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Apparently uncommon on Svínoy, Viðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Streymoy, and Koltur (Bengtson et al. 2004). Widespread in Britain including Scotland, Orkney but unrecorded from Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Unrecorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Halorates Hull, 1911
Just one Faroese species in genus, Halorates reprobus. The structures of the male palp and epigyne reveal that it is rather closely related to species of Collinsia (Locket & Millidge 1953, Millidge 1977). However it does not overlap in habitat and size with Collinsia holmgreni also known from the Faroes.
Characters of genus: Male carapace not modified, both sexes similar in general appearance (Roberts 1985). Chelicerae of males with a large cylindrical tubercle, just above the outer row of teeth (Locket & Millidge 1953). Metatarsus IV almost twice as long as tarsus IV. All tibia with two spines, but no lateral ones (Locket & Millidge 1953).
Halorates reprobus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1879)
With its semi-marine existence this species has an very special ecological niche. Bristowe 1939 in Tambs-Lyche 1964 notes that specimens may be found under the high tide mark and shelter in places such as rock fissures where air has been trapped during high tide. During low tide it conceals itself beneath rocks and tidal litter. Description: Robust appearance. Carapace brown with darker striae, abdomen grey to black (Locket & Millidge 1953). Sternum yellow-brown, legs brown. Tm I 0.6-07. Tm IV present. Tibial spines long, but fine and hair-like. Size: Female 2.5-4 mm; male 2.5-3 mm. Maturity: The single female known from the Faroes was collected in late August (own collection data). The maturity season in Iceland is from March to September with the majority of records in the period June to September (Agnarsson 1996). Females are present throughout the year in Britain, while males have not been recorded in December-February (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Among stones on sandy beach (own collection data). In Iceland the species is found under stones and seaweed on seashores (Agnarsson 1996). Also confined to coastal habitats such as saltmarshes and rocky/muddy shores in Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). Halorates reprobus has also been found in the nest material of cormorants and in sea caves where the sea washes through but does not reach the roof (Bristowe 1958 in Tambs-Lyche 1964). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Only a single female is known from the Faroes (own collection data). The species was recorded for the first time in 2010 at the mouth of river Sandá, Streymoy, by Jens-Kjeld Jensen. The species may be underrecorded because its habitat has been poorly collected. Assumed to be a common species in Iceland despite few records (Agnarsson 1996). Local but widespread in coastal Britain, including Scotland and Orkney, but unrecorded from Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Hilaira Simon, 1884
Characters of genus: Although fairly small Linyphiinae species they appear as large species of Erigoninae due to the generally dark colours. The carapace is broad in front. The front half of the carapace is domed, however much less so in females than in males. The males are separable in the field by the shape of the dome in lateral view using a lens (see drawings of carapaces in Roberts, 1987). Chelicers appear robust. Tibiae I-IV with two dorsal spines with one additional prolateral spine on tibia I (Locket & Millidge, 1951). Male palp complex and with large paracymbium and with tibial apophysis. Note that H. frigida recently has been transferred to the genus Oreoneta.
Hilaira nubigena Hull, 1911
Description: A fairly large member of the genus with females reaching 5 mm. Carapace dark orange-brown to dark brown. Both females and males have some rather short spine-like hairs in ocular area and behind eyes. The male carapace is domed behind the eyes and is furnished with many rather long, stout hairs. Abdomen black. Legs yellow to orange-brown. Metatarsus I of males is swollen and bears in middle third of length about 20 stout spines of about the same length as the diameter of the tibia at widest point. Size: Female 3-5 mm; male 3-4 mm. Maturity: The three Faroese females were collected during July 15-18 (Holm, 1980). In Britain adults have been found in August-September (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The species is known from a Sphagnum bog at 270 m. a.s.l. (Holm, 1980). In Britain the species is known from wet areas usually with Sphagnum and Juncus mostly at altitudes of 400-700 m a.s.l. Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Presumably rare, only three females are known from the Faroes, all collected in a bog on Middagsfjall, Eysturoy (Holm, 1980). Scarce in northern England and Scotland, but unrecorded from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Unrecorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Genus: Hypomma Dahl, 1886
Characters of genus: The commonest species (including the Faroese species) are characterized by orange prosoma, legs and black, glossy abdomens with four distinct sigilla. Male head elevated into two large lobes divided longitudinally. Eyes are situated in front of lobes. Tibia I-IV with one short dorsal spines less than diameter of tibia in length. Male palp with two tibial apophyses, one short and small, one long and slender.
Hypomma bituberculatum (Wider, 1834)
Description: Carapace and legs orange to bright reddish brown. Head in male raised into large, longitudinally divided lobe that are paler than the rest of the carapace. Ocular region suffused with black. Tibial spines short i females, absent in males. Size: Female 2.5-3.0 mm; male 2.2-2.6 mm. Maturity: The single Faroese male was collected during summer (Bengtson et al. 2004). Four females has been collected in June (own collection data). In Britain adults of both sexes are peaking in the period April-July but adults has also been found in low numbers outside this period, except December (Harvey et. al. 2002). Habitat: No data for the Eiðisvatn record. At Skuvoyarfjall specimens were found in a very wet, gently sloping meadow with plenty of mosses (own collection data). In Britain the species is found in wet, swampy habitats at sides of water bodies and rivers, but is also found in dry places such as sandhills in the north (Harvey et. al. 2002). Also in Denmark this species is found in two very different habitats, wetlands and in dry sandhills at the coasts. The species tolerates temporary submergence in fresh water. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Only five specimens has been collected in the Faroes indicating this is a rare species or perhaps a relatively new species in the process of increasing its range. A male has been collected at Eiðisvatn at about 150 m, Eysturoy in 1981 (Bengtson et al., 2004). In 2010 four females were collected at Skuvoyarfjall (300 m), Sandoy confirming breeding of the species in the Faroes. Unrecorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Common and widespread in Britain, including Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Improphantes Saaristo & Tanasevitch, 1996
Only one Faroese spider species in this genus which was formerly placed in the Lepthyphantes genus.
Characters of genus: Small linyphiids ranging form 1.45 to slightly longer than 2 mm body length (Saaristo & Tanasevitch 1996). Legs not annulated or banded. Tm IV without a trichobothrium. Abdomen grey to black without pattern. Males are characterized by the sickle-shaped embolus with open sulcus and slightly reduced carina (not visible with a hand lens). Epigynes are protruding and large.
Improphantes complicatus (Emerton, 1882)
Females can be identified using a lens due to its very large and characteristic epigyne. The lamella of the male palp is formed like a large band and may be visible with a lens (18-20x). Description: Both males and females have carapace and legs pale yellow-brown and grey abdomens (Locket & Millidge 1953). Tm I ca. = 0.2. Metatarsi with one spine each Size: 1.7-2.2 mm. Maturity: On the Faroes adults females have been found during May-July and males during May-June (Bengtson et al. 2004, Holm, 1980). In Iceland males are mainly found during April to June and females during June and July (Agnarsson 1996). In Scotland adults have been found from June to August (Locket & Millidge 1953). Habitat: On the Faroes this species has been found at 150-700 m but perhaps also at lower altitudes at Havnardalur (Bengtson et al. 2004, Holm 1980). Only detailed habitat information for the Faroes is provided by Holm, 1980 who found a female under a stone on a slope with sparse vegetation on Hornfjall at 700 m. Found in Iceland on both on low and high ground (0-1000 m) in different, mainly damp habitats in grass fields, moss, scrub and forests (Agnarsson 1996). Also in Greenland this species is found in a variety of damp and dry habitats; among moss, litter and under stones on heaths, in willow thickets and in Sphagnum bogs (Marusik in prep.). Scottish specimens have been found on mountains above 900 m under stones etc. (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Uncommon and local on the Faroes. Known from Kunoy (Skarðsgjógv), Eysturoy (Eiðisvatn and Hornfjall), and Streymoy (Havnardalur). Also known from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and the south and southwest of Greenland (Marusik in prep.). The species is local and never abundant in the Highlands of Scotland (Harvey et al. 2002). Unrecorded from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Female.
Female, note the characteristic shape of the projecting epigyne in lateral view.
Female.
Female.
Genus: Lepthyphantes Menge, 1866
This genus contains one Faroese species which is found in or near houses.
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 leprosus (Ohlert, 1865) - House line-weaver
The species has been observed to produce small webs in corners of rooms, usually at fairly low levels (Harvey et al. 2002). The mating biology of this species is described by van Helsdingen (1965). Description: Carapace yellow-brown to brown with darker striae (Locket & Millidge 1953). Legs similarly coloured but with blackish annulations and relatively long spines. Abdomen brownish with transverse chevron-like black bars and with black sides. Brown areas with white, mostly small dots of varying forms and sizes. Tm I = ca. 0.13. Etymology: the latin species name "leprosus" means appearing decayed, having the appearance of infection by leprosy (Wiktionary). Size: Female 2.4-3.8 mm; male 2.4-3.5 mm. Maturity: Males have been found in June, July, and August and females in April, June, August, and September (Brændegaard 1928, own collection data). Adults of both sexes have been found all year in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found in buildings in the Faroes (Brændegaard 1928, own collection data), in a garden in Sørvágur and abundantly in a sheep stable at Sund (own collection data). Synanthropic in Iceland, frequently found inside houses and staples but also outdoors close to human settlements (Agnarsson 1996). Also mainly synanthropic in Britain, but in southern parts the species is found in a wider array of outdoors habitats, including some away from houses (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding confirmed. Range: Stóra Dímun, Streymoy, and Vágar. Apparently rare but probably under-recorded in the Faroes with only three old (1912-1926) records from Tórshavn, (Brændegaard 1928) and three recent: Sørvágur, Vágar, 2007, Stóra Dímun, 2010, and Sund, Streymoy, 2010 (own collection data). Considered common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). The species is scattered in Scotland and unrecorded from Shetland and Orkney (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Leptorhoptrum Kulczynski, 1894
Characters of genus: This genus holds only one, fairly large species with simple genitals.
Leptorhoptrum robustum (Westring, 1851)
Description: Carapace grey, yellow-brown or brown, darker in head region. Chelicers robust. Legs yellow-brown. Tm I ca. 0.54 (Locket & Millidge 1953). Abdomen grey or black with some pubescence. The epigyne is simple with a projecting sclerotized ridge. The male palp is small, slender and simple. Size: Female 3.2-4.8 mm; male 3.0-4.3 mm. Maturity: On the Faroes adults have been found in all the months April-October (Brændegaard 1928, Lissner 2010). Fairly short maturity seasons are reported for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) with males found in August-September and females in May-June and one additional period in September-October. In Britain females are found throughout the year but mostly in summer and autumn while males are found from May to November (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found in a very wide array of habitats. On the Faroes this species has been found under stones (Brændegaard 1928) often near the shore (Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). The species has also been found in moss (Holm 1980). According to Bengtson & Hauge 1979) the species is mostly found near habituations such as infield habitats. Further habitats include outside of buildings, harbour wasteland, coastal dunes, wetlands, outfield grassland slopes and outfield dwarf-shrub heath (own collection data). In Iceland this species is found in the lowland up to at least 700 m, usually in moist, well-vegetated places such as grassland in ditches, banks of rivers, in mires, scrub and forests (Agnarsson 1996). In the north of Britain this species is found in mountains and moorland in upland valleys, often under stones (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: One of the commonest spider species on the Faroes known from all islands except Stóra Dímun and Lítla Dímun (Bengtson et al. 2004). Also common on Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread in Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland but scattered in the north (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Subadult male.
Subadult male.
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Male, consuming a worm.
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Genus: Mecynargus Kulczynski, 1894
Just one species (Mecynargus morulus) known from the Faroes, but species known from neighbouring countries (M. borealis, M. paetulus, and M. sphagnicola) are potential members of the Faroese fauna.
Characters of genus: Males of this genus are characterized by a short embolus lying in a loop in the distal part of the bulbus (not visible with a lens). Epigynes broader than long or as broad as long. Males of some species has the carapace slightly domed behind the eyes or elevated conically (Roberts 1987, Marusik in prep.).
Mecynargus morulus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1873)
Description: Head not elevated in to lobe in male but nevertheless rather characteristic in shape. Carapace yellow to dark brown with darker striae (Locket & Millidge 1953). Abdomen greyish black, rarely brown. Legs coloured as carapace or lighter. Tm I ca. 0.7-0.77, Tm IV absent (Locket & Millidge 1953, Roberts 1987). Only species in genus in which males possess distinct stridulating ridges on the branchial opercula with an opposing tooth on each Coxa IV (Roberts 1987, Marusik in prep.). Stridulating ridges are much less developed in females (Locket & Millidge 1953). Size: Female 1.7-2.0 mm; male 1.6-1.9 mm. Maturity: Few data available for the Faroes. Males and females have been found in July and August (own collection data), females also in April (Brændegaard 1928). The maturity season in Iceland as reported by Agnarsson (1996) is February-April and September-November for males and March-May and September-November for females. In Britain males have been found from April to August and females from April to October with a peak for both sexes in July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Amongst moss and grass in meadows and among heather vegetation up to 750 m (Holm 1980, Brændegaard 1928). Mostly in mountain sites and open grass heaths, more rarely in other habitats (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). According to Holm (1967) the species is common in Hylocomnium moss on heaths. In Iceland the species is associated with dry and open vegetation (grass, heather) and sparsely vegetated areas (Agnarsson 1996). A high ground species in Britain found on mountain tops among grass and under stones (Locket & Millidge 1953). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Fairly common, known from Fugloy, Svínoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Hestur, Koltur, and Suðuroy. Considered common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Known from Scotland, Orkney, northern England and Wales in Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Meioneta Hull, 1920
None of the two Faroese species possess lateral spines on tibiae I and II. The epigynes of the two species are very similar and females are best separated by differences in overall colour and by the size difference between posterior medial and lateral eyes. Tm I range (0.21-0.27) is similar in both species (Roberts 1987).
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 gulosa (L. Koch, 1869)
Description: Carapace yellow brown to dark brown, abdomen grey to black (Locket & Millidge 1953). Posterior medials only slightly larger than laterals. Female palp not swollen but suffused with black. Tarsus of male palp distinctly elevated. Epigyne very similar to those of other species of the genus. Size: Female 1.7-2.1 mm; male 1.8-2.0 mm. Maturity: The two males at Havnardalur were pitfall trapped at some points in time during May, 4 and June, 10 (Bengtson et al. 2004). The Villingadalsfjall male was collected on August, 31 (own collection data). Adults of both sexes have been recorded during the period May-August in Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Under stone in area with rocks and moss in outfield on Villingadalsfjall at 700 m (own collection data). On south or west facing slope with sparse vegetation and many boulders in Havnardalur at 460 m (Bengtson et al., 2004). In Britain the species has been found under rocks in open upland areas, among shingle along upland streams and at low elevation under seaweed on coastal shingle and inland on a grassy bank (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Rare, only three males are known from the Faroes: one from Viðoy at Villingadalsfjall and two from Streymoy at Havnardalur (Lissner 2010, Bengtson et al. 2004). Unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). Widely distributed in Northern England and Scotland, but unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Meioneta nigripes (Simon, 1884)
By far the commonest Meioneta species in the Faroes. A small, blackish species with large posterior median eyes (difficult to see with a lens). Description: Very dark species. Carapace and legs dark brown, abdomen black. Posterior medial eyes are almost twice as large as anterior medials. Female palp not swollen but suffused with black. Tarsus of male palp only slightly elevated. Epigyne very similar to other species of the genus. Size: Female 1.7-2.2 mm; male 1.6-1.8 mm. Maturity: Males have been found in May and July and females in July and August (own collection data). In Britain mature specimens of both sexes are recorded between May and August (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland adults have been recorded from April to August with a peak in July and August. Habitat: A high ground species found from 200 to 880 m altitude in moss, grass, gravel, and under stones (own collection data). Holm (1980) found this species under stones in meadow and gravelly ground in the mountains at altitudes between 260 and 750 m a.s.l. In Britain this species occur in moss, short grass, and under stones mainly at altitudes higher than 500 m, but lower in Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). In Greenland Brændegaard (1946) found the species in arid areas. According to Agnarsson (1996) this species is one of the commonest Icelandic species on high ground being found in altitudes up to 1200 m. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Svínoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Koltur, Skúvoy, and Suðuroy. Also known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002), Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Microlinyphia Gerhardt, 1928
Only one, recently discovered species in the Faroes which can not be mistaken for any other species on the islands. Perhaps a recent immigrant which may increase its range in coming years.
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 pusilla (Sundevall, 1830)
The species produce a horizontal sheet web in low vegetation (Harvey et al. 2002). Mating takes place in early summer (van Helsdingen 1970). Description: Male: Carapace brown to dark brown. Legs yellow-brown without annulations but with blackish streaks on basal half of femora in dark specimens. Abdomen tubular, dark brown with one pair of white spots anteriorly (rarely two pairs). The male palp has a large looped embolus which in lateral view encircle an area about twice as big as that covered by the palpal organs. Female: Cephalothorax less elongate than in male and brown. Abdomen is shorter and higher compared to males, ovoid in dorsal view. Ventral surface of lateral and posterior surface as well as ventral surface dark brown or blackish. Dorsally light coloured with a broad dark brown median band broken posteriorly in dark spots, the first being diamond shaped. Size: Female 3-5 mm; male 3-4 mm. Maturity: Three males, two females and two subadult females were collected on July, 8 (own collection data). In Britain adults are found from March to October however only in small numbers outside May-August (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Outfield with heather at 35 m (own collection data). In Great Britain the species found in low vegetation in a wide range of habitats including heathland, dune, scrub, saltmarsh and other wet habitats but is also common in grassland (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Recorded for the first time in 2008 at Toftavatn, Eysturoy by Rodmund á Kelduni (own collection data). The species is unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). The species is widespread in Britain including Scotland, but unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Male, note large hooped embolus of palp.
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Genus: Monocephalus Smith, 1906
The genus holds only one species on the Faroes. Males are identifiable in the field with a lens (20x) due to the elevated head, deeply depressed at sides as seen from above. Females are only identifiable by inspecting the epigyne under the stereomicroscope.
Characters of genus: Male head elevated and depressed at sides. Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium. Tibiae I-IV with one spine but tibia I-II spineless in males.
Monocephalus fuscipes (Blackwall, 1836)
Description: Carapace is brown (Locket & Millidge 1953). Male head elevated, deeply depressed at sides. Abdomen grey to black. Sternum orange-brown, darker at sides and with reticulations. Legs brown to orange brown. Tm I 0.59-0.66 (Roberts 1987). Size: Female 1.7-2.1 mm; male 1.7-2.0 mm. Maturity: Holm (1980) collected females in June. A number of males and females were collected in spring and summer (exact months not given) by Bengtson et al. (2004). In Britain adults of both sexes are found throughout the year, but with a larger peak in early summer and a smaller peak in autumn (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Holm (1980) found this species at 300 m under stones on a dry grassy slope with heather and herbs. Bengtson & Hauge (1979) collected 29 females at 12 localities mostly in infield habitats but also on heaths at elevations below 300 m. Later collections by Bengtson et al. (2004) were done in infield and outfield, again at localities below 300 m. In Britain the species is found in rocky heathland, grassland and disused quarries, sometimes on higher ground up to 600 m (Harvey et al. 2002). However, more commonly it is found in leaf litter in broad-leaved and coniferous woodland as well as in alder carr, habitats that hardly can be found on the Faroes. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Only known from the northern parts of the Faroes: Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, and Streymoy. Not recorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) or Greenland (Marusik in prep.). Widespread in much of Britain, including Scotland, Orkney, but unrecorded for Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The absence of the species from Shetland and Iceland makes the northerly distribution on the Faroes peculiar, also when considering that all Faroese specimens have been collected below 300 m altitude. More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Female, venter.
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Genus: Mughiphantes Saaristo & Tanasevitch, 1999
This genus contains one, rare Faroese species without a clear abdominal pattern. The species may be difficult to identify in the field.
Characters of genus: Medium sized spiders ranging from 1.6-2.8 mm (Saaristo & Tanasevitch 1999). In some species the abdomen has a striking pattern. Tibiae usually with one or more ventral spines. Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium. Female epigyne disc or pear shaped, often thickened with an almost rigid scape. The male palp shows some adaptations to the rigid scape of the epigyne but these are not visible with a lens.
Mughiphantes whymperi (F. O. P.-Cambridge, 1894)
Description: Carapace yellow brown (Locket & Millidge 1953). Head with some fairly strong forward directed spines, more pronounced in males. Legs yellow brown. Metatarsi with several spines. Tibial spines long, almost four times diameter of tibia. Abdomen grey with unclear darker pattern. Size: Female 2.6-3.2 mm; male 2.5-3.2 mm. Maturity: Adults of both sexes have been pitfall trapped in July and August at 800 m (Bengtson et al. 2004). Specimens collected at lower elevations at Havnardalur were collected in the summer (exact months not stated). In Britain adults have been found from June to September (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Grass heath slopes at Havnardalur at elevations of 165 to 460 m and at a mountainous site with sparse vegetation on Urðarfjall, Kunoy at 800 m. Found on mountains in Britain, mainly in cavities among rocks but usually in low numbers (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Apparently rare on the Faroes, recorded for the first time in 1981 (Bengtson et al. 2004). Only known from two localities: Kunoy (Urðarfjall), and Streymoy (Havnardalur). The species has not been recorded in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) or Greenland (Marusik in prep.). In Britain it is local in north Wales, England, Scotland and Orkney, but unrecorded for Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Oreoneta Chyzer & Kulczynski, 1894
Characters of genus: The genus has been revised by Saaristo & Marusik (2003). It is defined by the structure of the copulatory organs, particularly by the shape of the male embolic membrane (Saaristo & Marusik 2003). Medium sized linyphiids ranging from 2.5-4.75 mm. Most species are dark, cephalothorax and legs brown with greenish grey-greenish black abdomen. The male carapace is somewhat elevated at front while the female carapace is unmodified.
Oreoneta frigida (Thorell, 1872)
One of the commonest Faroese species. There are no distinct field characters to recognise this species with a lens. But being a fairly large linyphiid having the head smoothly domed behind the eyes, greatly reduce the number of species to which it can be confused. Description: Carapace orange to brown, slightly domed behind eyes (Locket & Millidge 1953). Sternum orange brown. Colour of abdomen vary from yellow-brown, brown, grey to black, perhaps generally darker in males. Legs orange brown to brown, Tm I ca. 0.6-0.7. The male palp has a large tibial apophysis and the female epigyne is much wider than long. Size: Female 3-4 mm; male 2.8-3.3 mm. Maturity: According to Brændegaard (1928) males have a lifespan of 18 months while females lives for two years. This author recorded males from August to October and females from April to July . Holm (1980) found numerous females and a few males between June 25 and July 20. Own limited data indicate that males are present both at spring (April-June) and late summer (August-November) while females are found during March-July. In Iceland, adult specimens are mainly found from April to November (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain adults have been found from April to September but due to lack of recording during winter Harvey et al. (2002) assume that adults probably are present all year. Habitat: Found at all altitudes on the Faroes including the highest areas of Slættaratindur (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979). It has been found under stones as well in heather and various herbage (Brændegaard 1928, Lissner 2010). According to Bengtson & Hauge (1979) the species is mostly found in places with open and sparse vegetation such as grass heaths and on higher grounds. The specimens collected by Holm (1980) at were found under stones in meadows and heaths. Found up to 1200 m in Iceland, being more common in the highland (Agnarsson 1996). Most often it is found under stones in a variety of humid to dry places with varying vegetation cover (Agnarsson 1996). In Greenland the species is found under stones in snow beds, in moist dwarf-shrub heaths, in meadows, among moss in mires and in leaf litter of willow scrub (Marusik in prep.). Mostly a high ground species in Britain typically found under stones particularly at the interface between rocks and heather vegetation (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widely distributed and common on the Faroes (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Known from Fugloy, Svínoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Mykines, Koltur, Sandoy, L. Dímun, and Suðuroy. The species is very common and widely distributed in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). The species has been recorded in northern England, Scotland and Shetland but not yet Orkney (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Oreonetides Strand, 1901
Oreonetides vaginatus (Thorell, 1872)
The single Faroese species is characterised by its large size (for a Linyphiid) and light colouration. The elongate scape of the epigyne is also highly characteristic when viewed with a lens. Description: Carapace brown with some thin forward directed hairs in head region. Legs coloured as carapace. Tm I ca. 0.4 (Locket & Millidge 1953). Abdomen light yellowish- to orange-brown or -grey. Sparsely clothed with fairly long, dark hairs. Size: Female 3.0-3.8 mm; male 3.0-3.5 mm. Maturity: Females in April-May and July-August (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). A male in May (own collection data). Bengtson et al. (2004) pitfall trapped a number of males and females but maturity data is not given. I Britain adults have been found in late summer and autumn (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Brændegaard (1928) found a female under stones at an altitude of 200 m. Another female was found on barren grass heath (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). More than 30 adult specimens, mostly males, were found at Havnardalur mainly at 460 m at a sparsely vegetated area with open ground and many boulders (Bengtson et al. 2004) . The British specimens have been found under stones on high ground in mountains (Harvey et al. 2002). In Greenland the species has been found under stones, in willow scrub litter, among moss in moist heaths and in snow beds with Salix herbacea (Holm 1967). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: This species has been found at all altitudes on the Faroes but mainly at higher elevations (Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Known from Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Koltur, and L. Dímun. Not recorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Local and uncommon in North Wales, the north of England and (more commonly) in Scotland (Harvey et al. 2002). In Greenland the species is known from south and southwest Greenland, extending northwards to Disko (Marusik in prep.). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Female, characteristic epigyne.
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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
The single European species is instantly recognized by its reddish abdomen and (as indicated by its specific name) the posterior end is black around the spinners. 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. Maturity: Only females have been pitfall trapped on the Faroes in July and August (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Britain adults of both sexes are found throughout the year with most records around autumn (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Mainly in rich grass heaths and meadows around human habituations but also found in a shrub heath away from buildings (Bengtson et al. 2004). Elsewhere in northern Europe the species is found in a wide variety of habitats but usually synanthropic. Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Recorded for the first time on the Faroes in 1988 and found on Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, and Eysturoy (Bengtson et al. 2004). Occurs scattered in Scotland but is absent from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002) and only found a few times in Icelandic greenhouses (Agnarsson 1996). The Faroe Islands thus appear to hold the northernmost outdoor breeding populations of this species in north west Europe. The species is now almost cosmopolitan in distribution but is thought to originate from New Zealand. More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Palliduphantes Saaristo & Tanasevitch, 2001
Pale coloured spiders, mostly more or less cavernicolous in lifestyle. The genus incorporates a group of former Lepthyphantes species now reclassified to the new Palliduphantes genus based on synapomorphies of the secondary genital organs (Saaristo & Tanasevitch 2001). The males of the species share some special characters including similar shaped paracymbia which are large and tub-like. Also the lamella of the palps and the epigynes share similarities, the epigynes having a very characteristic appearance in dorsal view (see Saaristo & Tanasevitch 2001 for more details on diagnostic characters). The genus is subdivided in to eight species groups bases on the morphology of the secondary genital organs (Saaristo & Tanasevitch 2001). There is just one Faroese species belonging to the insignis species group.
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 ericaeus (Blackwall, 1853)
The single Faroese species of this genus is a small linyphiid, appearing uniformly coloured yellow-brown. Female with projecting epigyne. Description: Carapace, legs and abdomen yellow-brown. Tm I ca. 0.15-0.19 (Roberts 1987). Tibial spines very long, metatarsi IV spineless. Venter of abdomen often more greyish-brown. According to Locket & Millidge (1953) the abdomen is grey to black but I am not sure if I have seen blackish specimens. The epigyne is clearly projecting which is best seen in lateral view. Size: Female 1.4-1.9 mm; male 1.3-1.6 mm. Maturity: Females have been taken from April to July (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). No maturity data is given for the many records of Bengtson et al. (2004). Adults have been found all year in Britain with the highest numbers form April to October (Harvey et al. 2002). It is not unlikely that adults can be found all year on the Faroes too. Habitat: It has been found among grass, in an old garden and on a hayloft (Brændegaard 1928). Holm (1980) obtained specimens by sifting moss, mostly Hylocomnium, in moist meadows and heaths at altitudes below 200 m. Bengtson & Hauge (1979) found the species in a variety of habitats, but mostly moist grass- and heathland at altitudes below 210 m. In Britain the species is found at ground level in variety of damp habitats such as moist grass- and heathland as well as in leaf litter of broad-leaved or mixed woodlands (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Common and widespread in the Faroes, known from Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Koltur, and Suðuroy. Widespread and common in Britain including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species has not been recorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) or Greenland (Marusik in prep.) More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Poeciloneta Kulczynski, 1894
The single European species of this genus has a characteristic pattern on the abdomen. However, due to the small size of the species it is only identifiable with a lens.
Characters of genus: Clypeus narrow about equal to the diameter of one anterior lateral eye (Locket & Millidge 1953). Male fangs are strong and relatively longer than in females. Outer margin of chelicerae with four large teeth (only visible in a stereomicroscope). Legs rather long. Femur I with a prolateral spine, tibiae with two dorsal spines but no lateral spines. Metatarsi without spines; metatarsus IV with a trichobothrium.
Poeciloneta variegata (Blackwall, 1841)
Egssack lentiform, whitish, with wholly surface. Description: Carapace yellow-brown with dark margins, striae, fovea and thin, dark lines extending back from the posterior lateral eyes to a dark rectangular field behind the head. Eyes on black spots. Sternum yellow-brown, often with dark margins. Legs coloured as carapace with more or less pronounced blackish annulations. Tm I ca. 0.71-0.8 (Roberts 1987). Abdomen brown or brownish grey with white reticulations and black transverse markings with a characteristic wavy (anchor shaped?) pattern. Size: Female 1.8-2.5 mm; male 1.8-2.4 mm. Maturity: Females from April to November (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Lissner 2010). Brændegaard (1928) assumes that females persist in winter. Males have only been found in July and August and seems to be much rarer than females (Brændegaard 1928, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). Adults of both sexes have been found throughout the year with strong peaks in May and June and in low numbers in winter months (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Brændegaard (1928) found the species under stones and among grass, moss and heather. Bengtson & Hauge 1979 found the species in grass meadow, in grass heath near water, in a plantation and on ungrazed rock shelves. Holm (1980) describes the habitat as mountain slopes (under stones) and in moist meadows. According to collection data of Lissner (2009) the species has been found in lakeshore vegetation (Grothusvatn), various grasslands, and rock steppes. The few altitude data available indicate that this is a lowland species in the Faroes with no records above 210 m (Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). However, in Britain the habitat includes upland regions at which sites the species is found under stones or amongst grasses and rushes, sometimes in damp conditions (Harvey et al. 2002). In warmer parts of the European lowland the habitat of the species shifts to bushes and trees, particular pines. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widely distributed and common in the Faroes. Perhaps more common in the southern islands than in the northern ones (Brændegaard 1928). Known from Fugloy, Borðoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Mykines, Sandoy, Skúvoy, St. Dímun, and Suðuroy. Widespread and common in Britain including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species has not been recorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.) More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Egg cocoon.
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Genus: Porrhomma Simon, 1884
A fairly homogenous group of small spiders which are difficult to identify due to similarity of species and rather great intraspecific variation. Some species are adapted morphologically to troglodytic or subterranean lifestyle, e.g. with eyes distinctly reduced or with paler pigmentation. Depending on habitat, troglodytic species exhibit a great degree of plasticity in morphological adaptations (even leg spination varies) which further complicates identification. The species of Porrhomma are mainly found in the temperate zone of the northern Hemisphere, with most species in the Palaearctic region. The genus holds three uncommon or rare species in the Faroes. They may be difficult to identify even with a stereomicroscope due to similarity of the sex organs, epigynes in particular. The Faroese species differ in leg spination (Roberts 1987), size of eyes (Locket & Millidge 1953) and to some extent also position of Tm I (Roberts 1987) but unfortunately these characters are not always reliable.
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 convexum (Westring, 1851)
This species differs from the other two Faroese Porrhomma species by having the following combination of leg characteristics: femur I without prolateral spine and with one or two dorsal spines. The abdomen of P. convexum is usually greyish black and thus darker than the abdomen of most P. montanum and P. egeria specimens. Porrhomma convexum is also the largest Faroese species, but smaller specimens overlap in size with P. egeria and to a lesser extent with P. montanum. Description: A fairly large Porrhomma species. Carapace yellow-brown to blackish brown. Ocular area with forward projecting hairs. Abdomen greyish black. Legs yellow-brown. Femur I with one or two dorsal spines and without prolateral spine. All metatarsi spineless. Tm I 0.4-0.49 (Roberts 1987). Size: 2.2-3.0 mm. Maturity: Adults have been found in July and August in the Faroes but is based on few records (Schenkel 1925, Bengtson 1979). No maturity data is given by Bengtson et al. (2004). In Iceland adults have been found from June to November with peaks from June to July and again from October to November (Agnarsson 1996). Adults have been found in most months of the year in Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found under stones on a steep slope near coast (Schenkel 1925). Bengtson & Hauge (1979) found the species at three localities at 5-30 m altitude in rich and moist sites. Holm (1980) found specimens under stones on gravelly seashore. Bengtson et al. (2004) report additional localities, and where habitat data is given these are denoted as moist sites. Recorded from 0-900 m altitude in Iceland, most commonly in rather humid habitats and the species is often found under stones in grassland, and in moss and in ground vegetation in woods (Agnarsson 1996). The two specimens known from Greenland were found under stones by a brook (Koponen 1982 in Marusik in prep.). Found in damp, dark places in Britain such as mines, caves, culverts, cellars, beneath rock piles and amongst thick undergrowth (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread but uncommon and always in low numbers. Known from Borðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Sandoy, and Suðuroy (Schenkel 1925, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Bengtson et al. 2004). Considered uncommon on Iceland but widely distributed (Agnarsson 1996). Apparently rare in south-west and south Greenland (Marusik et al. 2006). Local in Britain but widely scattered in Scotland and unrecorded from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Porrhomma egeria Simon, 1884
Porrhomma egeria is characterized by femur I having two prolateral spines in addition to one or two dorsal spines. The species is usually also much paler than P. convexum and sometimes also paler than P. montanum. Porrhomma egeria is larger than P. montanum and smaller than P. convexum but overlap in size with both species. The eyes of P. egeria are minute or even absent in some specimens and this is also a good diagnostic character. It should be noted that the single female known from the Faroes lacks one of the prolateral spine on femur I diagnostic for the species, but it does have reduced eyes and the epigyne match drawings of this species in the literature (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Description: A medium-sized Porrhomma species. Carapace yellow-brown. Ocular area with forward projecting hairs. Eyes are greatly reduced in size in or even absent. Gradual eye reduction has been observed in this species which is dependent on distance to cave entrance (Sanocka (1982), cited in Harvey et al. (2002)). Abdomen white to greyish yellow. Legs yellow-brown? Femur I with one or two dorsal spines and two prolateral spines. All metatarsi spineless. Tm I 0.36-0.43 (Roberts 1987). Size: Female 2.3-2.5 mm; male 2.0-2.5 mm. Maturity: The single Faroese female was found in July (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). In Britain data exist for three males found in February, May and June and one female found in August (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The single Faroese specimen known was found among heather at Dalá, Viðoy at 40 m altitude (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). A predominately troglodytic species in Britain, often found in deeper parts of caves and less frequent outside caves such as among stony debris, within moss and occasionally in cellars (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Only a single specimen has been recorded from the Faroes on Viðoy (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Unrecorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). Widespread but very scattered in Britain with few records from Scotland and none from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Porrhomma montanum Jackson, 1913
Porrhomma montanum differs from the other two Faroese Porrhomma species by its leg spination. In this species femur I has one prolateral spine but no dorsal spines. Additionally, P. montanum (usually with yellow abdomen) is also mostly much paler than P. convexum (usually with blackish abdomen) but darker than P. egeria (with greyish yellow to white abdomen). Porrhomma montanum is also the smallest Faroese Porrhomma species, but larger specimens overlap in size with P. egeria and to a lesser extent with P. convexum. Description: Variable in colouration. Carapace yellow-brown to greyish-brown. Ocular area with fairly long forward projecting hairs. Abdomen pale yellow to greyish black. Legs pale yellow to brown. Femora I without dorsal spines but with one prolateral spine. All metatarsi spineless. Tm I 0.3-0.4 (Roberts 1987). Size: Female 1.5-2.2 mm; male 1.5-2.0 mm. Maturity: A male and female have been found in May (Brændegaard 1928, Lissner 2010) and three females in July (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Iceland adults of both sexes have been found in May-June and females also in October-November (Agnarsson 1996). Based on a low number of records adult females have been found from March to October in Britain and a single male in March (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found under a stone on a slope near Bjarnadalsá, Streymoy at 360 m altitude (Brændegaard 1928). Recorded at three localities with rich grass or herb meadows (Bengtson et al. 2004). Also found near the top of the highest Faroese mountain (Slættaratindur, 882 m) under a rock in area with rocks, gravel and moss (own collection data). It has been found from 0-900 m altitude in Iceland, most commonly under stones in humid to rather dry vegetation (grassland and moss) but also at sparsely vegetated places (Agnarsson 1996). Considered a typical upland species in Britain occurring beneath rocks on open mountains (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Rare on Eysturoy, Streymoy, and Suðuroy (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Rather rare but widely distributed on Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread in Britain, including Scotland but unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Savignia Blackwall, 1833
The single Faroese species belonging to this genus is small and blackish. The male has a highly characteristic snout which is visible with a lens. Female is only identifiable under the stereomicroscope.
Characters of genus: The Savignia species group was redefined by Millidge (1977) as the original description by Blackwall (1833) only accommodated one species Savignia frontata which erroneously was grouped with six-eyed spiders. A number of new species have been assigned to this genus in recent years (The World Spider Catalog by Platnick). The genus is closely related to Diplocephalus and other genera with similar structures of genitals and it has been proposed to merge these genera (Millidge 1997). However, Eskov (1988) on the other hand would like to limit Savignia to species with T-shaped embolic division and an embolus which is slightly curved and directed backwards (Bosselaers & Henderickx 2002).
Savignia frontata Blackwall, 1833
Description: Carapace dark brown to black. Female carapace unmodified, male carapace long, raised in to a highly characteristic snout-like projection bearing a tuft of hairs. Anterior medial eyes are situated on the snout. Darker fovea and striae are visible on alcohol preserved specimens. Legs brown. Tm 1 ca. 0.47-0.53 (Roberts 1987). Metatarsus without a trichobothrium. Tibiae I-II with two spines (minute in males), tibiae III-IV with one spine (Locket & Millidge 1953). Abdomen dark grey to black. Size: Female 1.5-2.0 mm; male 1.5-1.9 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in April, May, July and September, males in March, July, August and November (Schenkel 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). Adults are mainly found April-September in Iceland with highest numbers during April-July and in September (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain adults have been found all year but in low numbers during July-August and December (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: A frequent ballooner that possibly can be found almost everywhere. Schenkel (1925) found three specimens, one below a cowpat, one under a stone and one in a staple. Bengtson & Hauge (1979) found specimens on 22 localities, mostly in richly vegetated infield localities and less frequent on heaths. This agrees with habitat data for specimens in my collection (own collection data). Holm (1980) reports the species from under stones on the seashore and in meadows. The species is common in the lowland of Iceland (up to 300 m altitude) in a variety of habitats, most frequently in humid or wet open vegetation or in damp to dry open vegetation, often under stones (Agnarsson 1996). The species is found in a variety of habitats in Britain including grassland, leaf litter, moss, bushes, and on low vegetation (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Fairly common an widespread in the Faroes. Known from Fugloy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Mykines, Sandoy, L. Dímun and Suðuroy (Bengtson et al. 2004). Considered very common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread and common in Britain including Scotland, Shetland, and Orkney (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Scotinotylus Simon, 1884
The members of this genus is widely distributed in the northern hemisphere with many species endemic to North America (Millidge 1981). Generally, the species are associated with the cool climates of high latitudes. Further to the south the species are confined to high altitudes such as those of central European mountain ranges. Little is known about their biology. They have been found at ground level under stones. Several species have been found at the snow line. Males of the single Faroese species may be identifiable with a lens by viewing the smoothly raised carapace in lateral view. Females requires a stereomicroscope for identification.
Characters of genus: Species rich genus consisting of small species ranging from 1.2 to 3.0 mm (Millidge1981). Male head domed behind posterior eyes, in some species only slightly while in others formed in to a large lobe. Dome or lobe are furnished with some short, fine hairs on anterior or frontal parts, including ocular area. Sulci and pits may be present in those species having a definite lobe. Eyes are widely spaced and fairly small in some species, perhaps most pronounced in males. The female carapace is only slightly elevated behind the eyes and carries no other modifications. Chelicerae with stridulating files in both sexes and in all species (Millidge 1981). Abdomen without a scutum and practically unicolourous. Legs are relatively short and tend to appear stout in smaller species. Tibia and metatarsus I dorsally with dense short hairs in both sexes. In males of some species these hairs are curved (requires a stereomicroscope to be visible). Metatarsi I-III with a dorsal trichobothrium, metatarsus IV withou a trichobothrium. Tm I range between 0.35 and 0.7, but the value is less than 0.55 in most species (Millidge 1981). Male palpal tibia is elongated and swollen in some species. The palpal tibia may bear one or more thickened spines dorsally. Tibial apophysis usually short, often with a short tooth distallly. In species with a longer apophysis this terminates in a hook. As most linyphiid genera, Scotinotylus is defined more unambiguously by the structure of the genitals (see Millidge 1977, 1981 for details).
Scotinotylus evansi (O. P.-Cambridge, 1894)
Description: Carapace yellow-brown to dark brown. Male head domed roundly behind the eyes. Ocular area with some short, fine hairs. Posterior medial eyes fairly small in male and spaced more than two diameters apart, in females only about one and a half diameter apart (Locket & Millidge 1953). Legs orange-brown to brown. Tm I 0.45-0.55 (Roberts 1987). Abdomen grey to black. Size: Female 1.8-2.3 mm; male 1.8-2.0 mm. Maturity: Female have been found in May and July and one male in May (based on a total of five specimens of Holm (1980) and Lissner (2009). No maturity data is available for 32 specimens collected by Bengtson et al. (2004). In Iceland adult specimens of both sexes have been found from May to September, but mainly in July and August (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain, adult males have been found from March to June with highest number in April and May and females from April to July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: On a dry slope with scattered vegetation at Hornfjall, 470 m., Eysturoy (Holm 1980). High mountain site with sparse vegetation on Kunoy (Skarðsgjógv) at 620 m and dwarf shrub heaths around lake Eiðisvatn, Eysturoy (Bengtson et al. 2004). These authors also found the species at Havnardalur and at Sund (below the cliffs Hamrarna), Streymoy but no precise habitat data is given. Under stones in area with stones, gravel and moss in the outfield area of Suðurhelvt, Slættaratindur, Eysturoy at 600 m (own collection data). Found in altitudes up to 1000 m in Iceland, usually under stones, in grass, moss and other short vegetation or in sparsely vegetated land (Agnarsson 1996). An upland species in Britain, being found under stones on mountain tops and also amongst grass and heather (Harvey et al. 2002). In Greenland this species is generally found under stones (Marusik in prep.). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Very local (but sometimes numerous) in the Faroes, known only from 6 localities on Eysturoy, Streymoy and Kunoy (Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Fairly common on Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread in northern parts of Britain, including Scotland and Shetland, but unrecorded for Orkney (Harvey et al. 2002). Also known from southeast Greenland and southernmost parts of northeast Greenland (Marusik, in prep.). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Semljicola Strand, 1906
Semljicola faustus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1900)
This genus contains one Faroese species which may be difficult to identify in the field due to small size. A second species, Semljicola caliginosus is endemic to northern England and it could be expected to occur on the Faroe Islands too. It is found mostly at high ground in wet habitats (Harvey et al. 2002). Description: Carapace yellow-brown (Locket & Millidge 1953). Male with some stout hairs in ocular area. Eyes rather large. Abdomen grey. Male branchial opercula with distinct stridulating ridges barely visible in female (note ridges also present on Mecynargus morulus often found in the same habitat). TM I 0.57-0.64 (Roberts 1987). Male tibiae I-III with basal spine small, and apical spine longer (Locket & Millidge 1953). Male palp with characteristic apical broad tibial apophysis. Size: Female 1.5-1.9 mm; male 1.5-1.8 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in July (Holm 1980). Males have been collected in May and July (Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). About 40 adult specimens were pitfall trapped by Bengtson et al. (2004) mostly in spring and autumn, but one male and female were also caught in winter. In Iceland adults are found almost all year but with peaks in early summer (April-primo July) and in September-October (Agnarsson 1996). Adults have been found from March to November in Britain, both sexes peaking in May. Habitat: Dry meadow north of Tvøroyri, Suðuroy at 280 m (Holm 1980). Amongst Sphagnum in a bog in pine forest (Planteringen, Streymoy) and on heather (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980). Under stone in fell field with sparse moss and grass in outfield area Ùttriðingur, Sørvágur at 200 m altitude (own collection data). Also found in dwarf shrub heaths around Lake Eiðisvatn, Eysturoy and outfield on Kunoy at 30 m altitude (Bengtson et al. 2004). The species is also found at Havnardalur and Sund, Streymoy but precise habitat data is not given (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Iceland the species is commonly found in wet or damp, closed or open vegetation, particularly in dwarf birch mires and in birch scrub and forest up to 700 m altitude (Agnarsson 1996). British specimens are known to inhabit damp, open habitats in upland regions, often near or in acidic bogs (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Local, known only from 8 localities on five islands: Kunoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágar, and Suðuroy (Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Local in Britain, including Scotland but unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Only the congener S. obtusus is known from Greenland (Marusik in prep.) More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Silometopus Simon, 1926
There is one, recently discovered Faroese species in the genus.
Characters of genus: The species in this genus are rather similar in general appearance and in their genitalia (Roberts 1985). Small species, body length range from 1.0- 2.2 mm. Tibia I-IV with one dorsal spines, usually weak or even absent in most males (Roberts 1985). Sometimes Tibia I-II are without dorsal spines (Nentwig W, Blick T, Gloor D, Hänggi A, Kropf C: Araneae - Spiders of Europe - Key to Linyphiidae). Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium. Metatarsi not much longer than tarsi with Mt I/T1 ca. 1.1-1.2 (Locket & Millidge 1953). Head of males very slightly to slightly domed behind the eyes depending on species. Abdomen with four dark-brown dots (sigilla) which become reddish in alcohol preserved specimens.
Silometopus ambiguus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1905)
Description: Carapace and coriaceous abdomen blackish. Carapace of alcohol preserved specimens dark brown and with visible blackish striae and margins. The male carapace is slightly domed behind the eyes. Tibial apophysis of male palp with relatively short and only sligthly bent process, the apophysis is longer and more strongly bent in congeners. Legs yellow-brown, usually with characteristic dark streaks, especially at the joints.Tm I 0.7-0.8. Note that the genitialia of this species is very similar to those of Silometopus curtus which overlap in habitat. Size: Female 1.5-2.2 mm; male 1.3-1.6 mm. Maturity: The two males known from the Faroes were found in September. Females have been found in June and August. According to Icelandic maturity data males are found from March to June, but mainly within the period April-June (Agnarsson 1996). Females mature later and are found from May to August, but mainly in May and June (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain adults of both sexes have been found from March to September (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Sand dunes with Ammophila vegetation. This type of habitat is only found at one site on Sandoy (Mølheyggjar). Also found on a sandy seashore with sparse grass vegetation at Sandagerð, Streymoy. The species is also known from Iceland, Scotland, Orkney and Shetland in which areas the species mainly is restricted to coastal sites with open grass vegetation or bare areas: sand-hills by the sea, in tidal litter and on mud (Agnarsson 1996, Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland also away from the sea (up to 300 m), such as sparsely vegetated lakeshores, in very open grassland, and in hayfields and pastures (Agnarsson 1996) indicating that the species is not an obligate halobiont. However, British habitats refer only to salt marshes, tidal estuaries and sand-hills by the sea, and the species is considered a halobiont in this region (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Sandoy and Streymoy. Recorded for the first time in 2008 (Mølheyggjar, Sandoy) by Jens-Kjeld Jensen. Recorded again in 2009 and 2010 at the same locality (own collection data). In 2011 found on a second locality at Sandagerð, Streymoy (own collection data). So far two males and four females have been collected in the Faroes. The distribution of this species is probably very local since the Faroese coasts mostly are steep and rocky. Perhaps it can be found in inland localities as well. Rather rarely encountered in Iceland but then sometimes locally common (Agnarsson 1996). Local but frequent in suitable habitat along the coasts of Britain, including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Saaristoa Millidge, 1978
There is one Faroese species which is variable in abdominal colouration. Individuals may have a yellowish, pinkish, brownish or blackish abdomen. Lighter abdomens in particular appear mottled. Some black streaks along the midline and sides are sometimes present. The female is easily recognized with a lens by the large tongue-shaped scape, completely covering the genital aperture.
Characters of genus: Head not elevated in males. All tibiae with two dorsal spines. Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium.
Saaristoa abnormis (Blackwall, 1841)
Description: Carapace yellow-brown. With long hairs along midline and sides of head. Abdomen yellowish, pinkish, brownish or blackish often with dark streaks at midline and sides. Sometimes vague, blackish chevrons are present. Tm I 0.43-0-48 (Roberts 1987). Size: Female 3.0-4.0 mm; male 3.0-3.8 mm. Maturity: Males have been found in all months from June to September and females from March to October (Schenkel, 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). Mature specimens have been found during summer in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). In Britain adults have been found all year but mainly from June to November (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Almost exclusively under stones according to Schenkel (1925) and Brændegaard (1928). Bengtson & Hauge (1979) found the species in mostly infield habitats but also in grass and dwarf shrub heaths. Holm (1980) found this species under stones and amongst moss Hylocomnium, Sphagnum. The habitat at the single known locality in Iceland is a luxuriantly vegetated south facing slope underneath a cliff (Agnarsson 1996). British habitats include marshland, bogs, disused mines, woodland, moorlands, heaths and mountains at which sites it may be found beneath logs and rocks and amongst leaf litter (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Common and widespread in the Faroes (Schenkel, 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Known from Fugloy, Svínoy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, Skúvoy, and Suðuroy. Only known from one locality in south Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread and common in Britain including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Tenuiphantes Saaristo & Tanasevitch, 1996
Previously, members of this genus were placed in the species rich genus of Lepthyphantes. A homogenous group of species have now been transferred to the Tenuiphantes genus which is characterised by their copulatory organs. There are three Faroese species. Markings can be quite variable within species, nevertheless they are sometimes useful for separating the species. Tenuiphantes zimmermanni differ from the two other Faroese species by the spacing and relative size of medial and lateral eyes.
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 mengei (Kulczynski, 1887)
Description: Carapace yellow-brown to dark brown. Eyes ringed with black but difficult to discern on specimens with dark carapaces. Sternum black. Legs yellow-brown sometimes darker at joints. Tm I ca. 0.18.0.22. Abdomen yellow-brown usually with dark transverse bars which vary in width among specimens. White glistening patches are present to a varying degree. They are usually most pronounced along lateral edges of the transverse bars. Some specimens lack both bars and white patches. Epigyne with circular notches on the lateral wing-like extension of the median part of the scapus. Male Paracymbium with a short, conical tooth near the margin facing tibia. Size: Female 1.7-2.4 mm; male 1.6-2.1 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in July, August and September and males in September and November (limited data by Lissner (2009) and Bengtson & Hauge (1979)). Bengtson et al. (2004) pitfall trapped more than 50 adult specimens but no maturity data is given. In Iceland males are mainly found in September and October while females presumably may be found all year (Agnarsson 1996). Adults of both sexes have been found all year in Britain but mainly in summer (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: In grass and herbage and among heather (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Infield with rich, continually cultivated grasslands and outfield pastures and meadows (Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Apparently all Faroese records are from below 500 m altitude and most below 200 m (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). The species is common in Iceland up to 400-500 m in a wide array of habitats preferring damp half closed or closed vegetation and is frequently found under stones and wood (Agnarsson 1996). I Britain the species is associated with undergrowth, grass and moss in dry heath, in moorland and in woodland (Harvey et al. 2002) Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Uncommon. Recorded for the first time in 1980 (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Now known from Fugloy, Viðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Vágar, and Koltur (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Common in Britain, including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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. Maturity: Females have been found in April, May, August and September (Brændegaard 1928, Lissner 2010). Males have been found in February, May, August and September (own collection data). Bengtson & Hauge (1979) found adult specimens in July on four localities but sex of specimens is not stated. No maturity data is given by Bengtson et al. (2004). Adults are found all year in Britain but most commonly in summer and autumn (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Brændegaard (1928) reports the species from an old garden near Tórshavn. Bengtson & Hauge (1979) found the species in infield meadows at 0-300 m altitude. Bengtson et al. (2004) found the species in dwarf shrub and rich grass and herb vegetation, but on Kunoy it was also found in area with sparse vegetation at 620 m altitude (Skarðsgjógv). Further habitats in which the species has been recorded include sand dune at Mølheyggjar, a garden at Sørvágur, indoors a building in Tórshavn (most likely a stray specimen)(own collection data). In Britain the species is found in many different situations, lowland grassland in particular but is rarer or absent in upland exposed grassland where T. zimmermanni is common (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Rather uncommon and usually in low numbers. Known from Fugloy, Viðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, Skúvoy, and Suðuroy. Unrecorded in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Very common in Britain, but is less frequent in Scotland, Orkney and Shetland than in England (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Tenuiphantes zimmermanni (Bertkau, 1890)
Description: Carapace brown to blackish. Anterior medians distinctly nearer to each other than to laterals, medians separated from laterals by more than one diameter, laterals about twice the diameter of medians (Locket & Millidge 1953). Sternum blackish. Legs yellow-brown sometimes darker at joints. TM 1 ca. 0.18-0.22 (Roberts 1987). Abdomen yellow-brown to dark olive green. Usually dark transverse markings are present dorsally but they may be difficult to discern in specimens with dark background colours. Transverse marking often indistinct or broken in anterior half. Bars are usually distinct i posterior half, being straighter and thinner than anterior bars. Shining white patches are sometimes distributed across the dorsal surface of the abdomen, at other times mostly at sides if not absent completely. Some specimens lack both bars and white patches. Epigyne with relatively narrow scape posteriorly, male palp with a small outward directed tooth fairly high up on the paracymbium. Size: Female 2.2-3.1 mm; male 2.1-2.7 mm. Maturity: Adult females have been found from April to November, adult males from April to October (Brændegaard 1928, Lissner 2010). Adults are found all year in Iceland, but mainly in August-September (Agnarsson 1996). Adults are found all year in Britain but most commonly in summer and autumn (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Brændegaard (1928) collected the species at 16 localities, usually on grass and herbage, a few under stones. Bengtson & Hauge (1979) found the species in 62 localities in all sorts of outdoor habitats. Holm (1980) states that the species can be found everywhere from the seashore to high levels in the mountains: under stones, amongst moss and grass or on heather. A wide variety of habitats is supported by collection data of Lissner (2009) adding plantation and urban areas as habitats. In Iceland the species is found in moist conditions at 0-300 m altitude, most commonly in grassland or tall herb meadow as well as under stones and wood (Agnarsson 1996). The species is found in a wide array of habitats in Britain from sea level to mountain tops (Harvey et al. 2002). It is a common species is in upland grassland and moorland where it is found in heather, grass, sedges, rushes and moss or under stones (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Probably the commonest spider species in the Faroes, apparently abundant on all islands. Common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread and common in Britain, including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Tiso Simon, 1884
There are two Faroese species, one very rare species (perhaps confined to high ground) and one fairly common species mostly found at lower elevations. Females are only identifiable using a stereomicroscope. Male palps have elongated patella and femur (much more so in Tiso vagans than in Tiso aestivus). At least males of T. vagans are identifiable in the field using a lens due to the elongated palps. However, they may at first glance be confused with males of the very rare Tmeticus affinis which also have elongated palps (in this species patella and tibia are elongated) but this species have conspicuously slender palps and the tibial apophysis is just a small bifid tooth. Male head slightly more raised behind the eyes in T. vagans than in T. aestivus.
Characters of genus: Male head only slightly raised behind eyes. Eyes rather small. Metatarsus IV without a trichobothrium. Tm I 0.5-0.59 (Roberts 1987). Tibiae I-IV with one spine.
Tiso aestivus (L. Koch, 1872)
Description: Carapace brown, surface slightly reticulated (not visible with a lens). Often with dark markings just anterior to the fovea. Abdomen brownish-grey to black. Legs brown. Tm I 0.5-0.59 (Roberts 1987). Male palpal femur and patella are both slightly elongated. Size: Female 1.6-1.9 mm; male 1.4-1.6 mm. Maturity: The five Faroese specimens (two males and three females) were collected during June 25 and July 20. In Iceland adult specimens have been found during most of the year (April-October) with most records from summer (Agnarsson 1996). Adults of both sexes are found from April to August in Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Under stone in alpine heath at Hornfjall, Eysturoy at 750 m and at Húsareyn, Streymoy at 340 m altitude (Holm 1980). Only two males and three females have been collected in total at these two localities. Icelandic records refer to very open vegetation (damp to fairly dry grassland) or in sparsely vegetated areas. It is found from the lowland up to at least 1150 m. altitude (Agnarsson 1996). According to Harvey et al. (2002) the species is confined to mountains above 600 m. altitude where it is found under stones. In Greenland the species has been observed to inhabit rather moist places like snow beds with Sibbaldia-Salix herbacea as well as herb fields in dry localities and lichen heaths on mountain slopes (Holm 1967 in Marusik in prep.) Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Very rare in the Faroes, known from Eysturoy and Streymoy (Holm 1980). Considered common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Local and not common on high mountains in Scotland and North Wales, unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Known from south, south-east and south-west Greenland (north to Disko)(Marusik in prep.). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Tiso vagans (Blackwall, 1834)
Description: Carapace brown to blackish (generally darker in males which also have surface somewhat reticulated (not visible with a lens). Abdomen brownish-grey to black. Legs yellow-brown to greyish-brown. Tm I 0.51-0.59 (Roberts 1987). Male palpal tibia with some stout bristles and femur and patella are both elongated. Size: Female 1.7-2.2 mm; male 1.6-2.0 mm. Maturity: Females have been taken in April and August (Brændegaard 1928, Lissner 2010). Adults of both sexes have been found throughout the year in Britain, but with a peak from March to July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Heather vegetation (Brændegaard 1928). Mostly found in infield meadows but also on grass and dwarf shrub heaths (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Among moss and rocks (own collection data). Known from a wide variety of habitats in Britain and is found in moss, grass and detritus in grasslands, wet moorland, heathland, birch/alder woodland and gardens (Harvey et al. 2002). Also in mountains above 600 m altitude, sand-hills and bird nests (Bristowe 1939 in Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread in the Faroes and fairly common. Known from Fugloy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Koltur, Sandoy, and Suðuroy (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). Widespread in Britain, including Scotland and Orkney but not recorded for Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Tmeticus Menge, 1868
Just one Faroese species which only has been found once. At least some specimens have two-coloured carapaces. Males are characterized by elongated palpal patella and tibia with small palpal organs (visible with a lens).
Characters of genus: This genus description is based on Locket & Millidge (1953) and Saito & Ono (2001) and may not encompass all species currently assigned to this genus. Male head not elevated in to lobe but head may be highly raised. Male chelicerae with a large warty tooth anteriorly. Metatarsus IV with a trichobothrium. Female tibiae I-II with two spines, tibiae III-IV with one spine. Male tibiae I-II spineless, tibiae III-IV with one short spine. Male palpal tarsus and palpal organs are relatively small in some species. The species may be classified in to two groups based on the structure of the male palpal organs (Saito & Ono 2001). One group is characterized by very long male palps and a hook-shaped patellar apophysis while tibia is without distinct apophysis (except in Tmeticus affinis which have a small dorso-distal bifid tibial apophysis). The second group possess a shorter male palp without a patellar apophysis, but with a distinct dorsal apophysis on the tibia.
Tmeticus affinis (Blackwall, 1855)
Description: Thoracic part of carapace yellow-brown, cephalic part in front of cervical furrow blackish. However, according to Locket & Millidge (1953) the carapace is reddish-brown, rather darker in male. Locket & Millidge (1953) make no mention of a two-coloured carapace so perhaps uniformly coloured carapaces occur as well. Male chelicerae with a large warty tooth anteriorly and several small warts on front and sides, these are less pronounced in females. Sternum orange-yellow with many hairs. Legs yellow-brown, Tm I 0.65-0.75. Abdomen black with four distinct sigilla. Male palpal patella and tibia elongated while tarsus and palpal organs are relatively small . Size: Female 2.5-3.0 mm; male 2.5-2.7 mm. Maturity: No data exist for the Faroese specimen. Adults have been found in all seasons in Britain, mainly from April to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: No habitat data is available for the Faroese specimen. In Britain this species occurs amongst moss and grass, nearly almost in wet, swampy localities (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Only a single specimen has been collected in the Faroes at Tórshavn, Streymoy in 1892 (Simon 1898 in Brændegaard 1928). It is unlikely that this is a native species as subsequent spider investigations have revealed no further specimens. Unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.). The species is widespread in central England, scarce elsewhere in Britain with only a single record from Scotland and none from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Walckenaeria Blackwall, 1833
There are five, possibly six Faroese species (the single record of Walckenaeria obtusa from 1912 is possibly a misidentified W. nudipalpis female, the habitus and epigynes of the two species being very similar). The species are characterized by sleek, fairly elongate blackish bodies and often bright orange or reddish orange legs (tibia I and II blackened in W. antica). All Faroese species have the head elevated in males. Two species have their heads slightly raised into a conical elevation carrying the eyes (W. obtusa and W. nudipalpis). Two other species have their carapaces modified by possessing a small protuberance, upward directed in W. clavicornis and forward directed in W. cuspidata). Males of the two last species have their heads modified into distinctly different lobes, a single large lobe in the small W. nodosa and two lobes in the slightly larger W. antica, the anterior smaller lobe carrying a pair of horns. All Faroese males (except W. obtusa and W. nudipalpis) are identifiable in the field with a hand lens (18-20x) by observing the carapaces in lateral view. None of the Faroese species have the head elevated in females, and identification in most cases requires a stereomicroscope although size differences narrow the possibilities. The distinct epigyne of W. clavicornis makes females of this species identifiable in the field using a hand lens.
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 antica (Wider, 1834)
Only Faroese Walckenaeria with clearly darkened tibia I and II in both sexes. Description: Carapace brown to blackish with darker striae visible in lighter coloured specimens. Males with bifid lobe, the anterior being smallest and carrying a pair of horns. Legs yellow brown to orange brown with tibiae I and II darkened. sometimes practically black. Abdomen grey to black. Tm I 0.5-0.55 (Locket & Millidge 1953). Size: Female 2.0-2.5 mm; male 1.8-2.3 mm. Maturity: Females have been found in May, June, July and August and males in July and August (Based on few specimens collected by Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Lissner 2010). In Britain adults of both sexes are found throughout the year with a peak from April to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: In infield grass and herbs and in grass heath (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Found under stones and amongst moss at altitudes below 300 m (Holm 1980). Found mostly in rich, grassy infield habitats at low elevations (Bengtson et al. 2004). Outfield among heather, stones, grass and moss at 35, 50 and 300 m altitude (own collection data). Associated with open, sunny places or dry woodland litter in Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). In areas where the sibling species W. alticeps preferring wet habitats is absent, W. antica may utilise the wetter habitats of W. alticeps (Rushton 1991 in Harvey et al. 2002). This may be the case in the Faroes where only W. antica is found. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Uncommon on Borðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, and Hestur (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik et al. 2006). Common in all Britain including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Walckenaeria clavicornis (Emerton, 1882)
Males are rather similar to W. cuspidata but is identifiable in the field using a lens by observing the direction of the protuberance on the head. Females are also identifiable in the field due to the very distinct fissured epigyne. Found at higher altitudes than other members of the genus. Description: Carapace brownish, usually fairly dark brown with faint darker striae. The male carapace modified by possessing a small upward directed protuberance slightly bifurcate distally. Legs orange to orange brown. Tm I 0.5-0.56 (Roberts 1987). Abdomen grey to black. Size: Female 2.4-2.7 mm; male 2.1-2.4 mm. Maturity: Adults of unspecified sexes in July and August (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Females from May to August (Holm 1980, Lissner 2010) and a male in August (own collection data). In Iceland adults of both sexes are found in May-June (females also in July). Males are found again in August-September while females are found again in September-October (Agnarsson 1996). Adults have been recorded from March to August (except June) in Britain with a strong peak in May (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Mainly grass heaths but also mountain sites, cliffs and shelves (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Also found in moist grass/meadow at the top of Kolturhammar at 478 m and at high altitude (620 m) in Skarðsgjógv (Bengtson et al. 2004). These authors also found the species in additional localities but habitat is not specified. Found amongst moss i meadow at 600 m altitude (Holm 1980). Outfield among gravel, stones and moss at 50-600 m (own collection data). Common in the lowland and up to 1000 m in Iceland in a variety of open, dry to wet vegetation in the lowland, but on high ground mainly under stones on sparsely vegetated areas (Agnarsson 1996). In Greenland this species has been found among mosses in bogs and in luxuriant heaths (Holm 1967). A high ground species in Britain found in wet mosses, Sphagnum, mires and under stones mostly above 650 m altitude but also in raised bog at low elevation (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread and fairly common in the Faroes. Known from Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Mykines, Koltur, Sandoy, L. Dímun, and Suðuroy (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Known from northern parts of south-west Greenland, north-west Greenland and southern parts of northeast Greenland (Marusik in prep.). Widespread and local mainly in the north of Britain, including Scotland, Orkney but not Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Walckenaeria cuspidata Blackwall, 1833
Males are rather similar to W. clavicornis but is identifiable in the field using a lens by observing the direction of the protuberance on the head. Females are not easily identifiable in the field, although the carapace sometimes is lighter than in some of its congeners. Description: Carapace orange brown to dark brown with faint darker striae. The male carapace modified by possessing a small forward directed cusp-like protuberance, which bears a tuft of hairs. Legs orange to orange brown, contrasting with the legs and the abdomen as in most species of the genus. Tm I 0.5-0.55 (Roberts 1987). Abdomen grey to black. Size: Female 2.4-2.9 mm; male 2.3-2.6 mm. Maturity: Females have been found from May to July and males in July (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). In Iceland, adults of both sexes are mainly found from April to June (females also July) and again from September to November but it is thought that at least females can be found all year (Agnarsson 1996). Adults have been found all year in Britain with highest numbers in May (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found under stones (Brændegaard 1928). Bengtson & Hauge (1979) found the species in two grass heaths at 180 m and 310 m altitude, respectively. Amongst moss in moist meadows at 260 and 290 m altitude (Holm 1980). Wet fell-field with Nardus, mosses and stones (Bengtson et al. 2004). Infield with grass at 50 m altitude (own collection data). In Iceland the species seems to prefer moist grassland and moss but is also found id dry scrubland (Agnarsson 1996). Found in a variety of habitats in Britain: moss, detritus in woods, open country, and on mountains (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread but usually found in low numbers. Known from Kunoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Sandoy, and Suðuroy (Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). The species is rarely found in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread in Britain including Scotland but unrecorded for Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). There are a few records of the Nearctic subspecies W. cuspidata breviculafrom Greenland, but the occurrence of both subspecies is considered possible (Marusik et al. 2006). The males of the two subspecies are identical, but the females have different spermathecae (Millidge 1983). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Walckenaeria nodosa O. P.-Cambridge, 1873
A rare, rather small species with a restricted distribution on the Faroes. Males have a small, spherical protuberance on the head. Females requires a stereomicroscope for identification, however the posterior edge of the epigyne forms an angle which may be visible with a lens in good light. Description: Carapace brown to dark brown. The male carapace modified by possessing a small knob-like protuberance which is without hairs. Legs orange to orange brown. Tm I 0.44-0.50 (Roberts 1987). Abdomen grey or brownish grey. Size: Female 1.8-2.2 mm; male 1.5-2.1 mm. Maturity: A total of 12 adult specimens have been collected in the Faroes, but maturity is assigned to month of year for just one female taken in July (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Possibly a winter active species in Iceland with males found in autumn and possibly during winter and females perhaps all year (Agnarsson 1996). Adults are mainly found in winter in Britain, from November to April-May. Habitat: Found in grass heath and grass meadow close to water in wet sites at altitudes of 35 m and 70 m (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). No precise habitat data is given by Bengtson et al. (2004). A lowland species in Iceland, found below 300 m altitude in damp open vegetation and in birch forests (Agnarsson 1996). Found in moss in woods and marshes and in the south of England also in lowland bogs and damp heathland (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Apparently rare, only known from a few localities on Eysturoy and Streymoy (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Bengtson et al. 2004). However, the species is likely under recorded due to its maturity season which mainly covers winter at which time less spider collection is undertaken. Only rarely found in Iceland perhaps for the same reason (Agnarsson 1996). Unrecorded from Greenland (Marusik et al. 2006). Uncommon in Britain including Scotland, but unrecorded from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Walckenaeria nudipalpis (Westring, 1851)
One of the commonest members of the genus in the Faroes. Despite being fairly large there are no distinctive characters in either sexes and the species may be difficult to identify in the field. However, the combination of orange legs and fairly elongate dark body does reduce the number of species to which it can be confused. Description: Carapace dark brown with somewhat rugose thoracic area. Male head only slightly raised in ocular region. Legs orange to orange brown . Tm I 0.47-0.54 (Roberts 1987). Abdomen grey to black. Size: Female 2.5-3.2 mm; male 2.5-3.0 mm. Maturity: Females have been found from May to August and a male in May (Schenkel 1925, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Adults have been found during most year in Iceland with males peaking from March to May and females from May to July and both sexes peaking again from September to December (Agnarsson 1996). Adults are found all year in Britain with a peak from April to July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Among stones in harbour area (Schenkel 1925). Mainly in rich, grassy infield meadows but also at a stony area, all finds made at elevations below 110 m. (Bengtson & Hauge 1979). Most specimens of Holm (1980) were found at elevations below 300 m by sifting moss in moist meadows and bogs, but a few specimens were also found under stones on a grassy slope and a slope with scattered vegetation. Rich herbage, rather wet scrub heath, and grassland along small stream, all sites below 290 m, other sites without habitat data (Bengtson et al. 2004). Outfield among moss and grass at 200 m altitude, among stones, moss and grass at waterfall at 45 m altitude and under stone in outfield with stones, gravel and heather at 400 m altitude (own collection data). Exclusively found on low ground (< 300 m) in Iceland in damp to wet open vegetation and in birch forests as well as under stones and wood in dry, grassy slopes (Agnarsson 1996). Found in a wide variety of damp habitats in Britain ranging from litter in woodland, damp heathland, boggy moorland and wet marshes and reed beds (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread on Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Koltur, and Suðuroy (Schenkel 1925, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, Bengtson et al. 2004, Lissner 2010). Fairly common in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). Widespread and common in Britain, including Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Walckenaeria obtusa Blackwall, 1836
Only a single female is known from the Faroes found in 1912 (Schenkel 1925). The female has very similar habitus and epigyne as W. nudipalpis which is fairly common in the Faroes and a misidentification by Schenkel may appear possible. Despite much collecting activity subsequent to 1912 no further specimens of this species have been found. On the other hand this is a rare species in much of its range so its occurrence in the Faroes cannot be ruled out. The species is not distinct from the close relative W. nudipalpis using a lens, but requires inspection of genitals under the stereomicroscope. Description: Almost identical to W. nudipalpis (see description of this species). Walckenaeria obtusa is a slightly larger species than W. nudipalpis but there is considerably overlap. Walckenaeria obtusa may generally have a lighter carapace (orange-brown to deep chestnut-brown) according to Locket & Millidge (1953) and perhaps also a darker abdomen (always blackish?) but again there is overlap with W. nudipalpis. Tm I 0.45-0.5 (Roberts 1987). Size: Female 3.0-3.8 mm; male 2.0-3.1 mm. Maturity: A female has been found in August (Schenkel 1925). Based on few British records it is speculated that males occur from late autumn through the winter and spring, while adult females extend into summer (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The single Faroese specimen was caught under a stone on a north facing slope at 130 m altitude (Schenkel 1925). In Britain this species occurs in moss and grass, usually in broad-leaved woodland (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Only a single specimen has been found in the Faroes at Kirkjubø-Reyn, Streymoy (Schenkel 1925). Unrecorded for Iceland (Agnarsson 1996) and Greenland (Marusik in prep.) Uncommon in Britain, particularly in the north with only few records from Scotland and none from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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 seven species in five genera on the Faroe Islands. Two species, Arctosa alpigena and Pardosa trailli have only been found on one occasion each and their breeding status is therefore uncertain.
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: Alopecosa Simon, 1885 - Fox-spiders
Characters of genus: Alopecosa seconds Pardosa in species richness within the Lycosidae. Medium-sized to large spiders with clear median band on the carapace wider than the eye group. Legs are stout with some males having swollen tibia I. Abdomen with clear cardiac mark. The species can be grouped by the colour of the ventral surface which is black in some species and light-coloured in others. The females dig a burrow where they guard their egg sack.
Alopecosa pulverulenta (Clerck, 1757) - Common fox-spider
Description: Female carapace dark brown with a light median band that is pale brown anteriorly, then pale yellow and ends at an U-shaped dark marking posteriorly, with the bottom of the U pointing towards the abdomen. Lateral bands pale yellowish-brown, broken and irregular. Abdomen brown with dark brown, elongate cardiac mark outlined with thin blackish line. The cardiac mark is enclosed by a pale yellowish-brown median band. Sides of abdomen brown. Anteriorly on the abdomen there is another U-shaped drawing with the bottom pointing towards the carapace. Sometimes thin transverse lines connects paired white spots on the rear half of the abdomen. Legs dark brown with yellow-brown hairs and stout, dark spines. Male carapace with white median band in contrast to almost black sides, and with thin yellow-brown lateral bands. Abdomen with light median band that is lightest anteriorly, and with indistinct cardiac mark. Tibia I and inward segments very dark, on legs II only femora and inwards segments are darkened. Remaining segments brown as in the female. Size: Female 7-10 mm; male 5-8 mm. Maturity: Little data is available for the Faroes. Females have been found in May, June and in August, the latter month with egg sack attached to spinners (own collection data and Bengtson and Hauge (1979). Males have been pitfall trapped between June 25 and July 20 (Holm 1980). In Britain males and females are found from April to September with a peak in May and June (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Dwarf-shrub heath and infield meadow according to own collection data and Bengtson and Hauge (1979). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Svínoy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy and Vágar. Also known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002) but not recorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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 alpigena (Doleschall, 1852) - Alpine bear-spider
Description: The overall colouration of the species is reddish brown. Posterior end of carapace with two blackish dots. The legs are brown with dark annulations. The pale, very clear whitish cardiac mark is relatively wide and outlined by thin black line. Sometimes the cardiac mark is truncated at rear. Behind the cardiac mark there are some light transverse lines. The male and female have similar coloration. Size: Female 7-10 mm; male 5-8 mm. Maturity: Only one male has been pitfall trapped on the Faroes at a date between May 20 and June 10. In Scotland adults have been found from May to August (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: The Faroese specimen was found on a meadow near a small river at the farm Sund (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Britain the species is recorded from densely matted vegetation in dry places in the highland (among Empetrum, Nardus, Vaccinium) as well as Racomitrium heaths (Harvey et al. 2002). In Sweden the species is also found in Sphagnum bogs in subalpine and alpine regions (Almquist 2005). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: A single male has been recorded from Sund, Streymoy (Bengtson et al. 2004). A northern species that is known from Scottish highland above 1000 m but unrecorded from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). In Iceland the species is common in the central highland and is found on high ground from 200 to at least 1000 m (Agnarsson 1996). Also known from south and south east Greenland (Böcher 2003). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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 palustris (Linnaeus, 1758) - Marsh wolf-spider
Description: Males and females rather similar in markings but males are darker than females. It should be noted that much of the patterns are due to coloured hairs which may fall off as the specimen gets older resulting in a generally darker appearance as specimen age between moults. The male carapace is dark reddish brown to blackish with distinct white median stripe tapering anteriorly. The submarginal bands are yellowish white due to partly coverage of whitish recumbent hairs. Legs are yellow brown with dark streaks on femora and inward segments. Dorsum of abdomen mottled in shades of dark greyish brown, laterally with more or less distinct white spots which may unite to form longitudinal lines. The cardiac mark is whitish. The lighter females have dark brown carapace and brownish abdomens with white markings more pronounced than in males. Legs are yellowish brown with dark spots on femora and inward segments. The female epigyne large and subtriangular. Size: Female 5.0-6.5 mm; male 4.5-5.5 mm. Maturity: On the Faroes males have been found in May and June and females from June to September (Brændegaard 1928, own collection data). Females have been observed to carry their egg sacks in July, August and September (Brændegaard 1928). In Britain adults are mainly found from May to September with a peak in June and July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: On the Faroes the species has been found in moss, under stones, in grassy heaths, in heath shrubs, in moist open infield meadows, and Sphagnum bogs, (Schenkel 1925, Holm 1980, Bengtson and Hauge 1979). The Icelandic habitats are described as dry or slightly damp, mostly open vegetation as well as sparsely vegetated areas (Agnarsson 1996). In the Faroes the species has been found up to 400-500 m a.s.l. (Schenkel 1925, Brændegaard 1928, Bengtson et al. 2004) while in Iceland it is found commonly up to at least 1000 m altitude (Agnarsson 1996). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágoy, Koltur, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. Apparently most common on Suðuroy (Brændegaard 1928). Widespread in Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species is considered one of the commonest spiders in Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Pardosa sphagnicola (Dahl, 1908) - Peat-moss wolf-spider
Description: Male carapace dark brown to blackish. Brownish median stripe of golden hairs. Submarginal bands whitish. Edges of carapace brown. Legs brown, unevenly clothed with golden hairs. No annulations. Abdomen brown with some blackish spots and paired white dots. Tuft of white erect setae medially on front margin. Cardiac mark whitish. Venter pale with numerous dark tooth-like short hairs. Female is less clearly marked than males, sometimes appearing almost uniform brown except for tuft of white setae on front margin of abdomen. White median line on carapace indistinct or absent. Venter without tooth-like hairs. Legs uniformly brown. Dorsum of abdomen dark reddish brown with some darker patches and scattered white hairs. Cardiac mark sometimes golden brown, lighter than adjacent abdomen. At other times the colour of the cardiac mark match the colour of adjacent abdomen rendering it indistinct. Size: Female 5-6.5 mm; male 4.5-5.5 mm. Maturity: Females have been found carrying egg sacks in July and August (Brændegaard 1928). A male has been found in May (own collection data). In Iceland the main season for adults are June and July with females persisting to August. Habitat: The species prefers damp and marshy habitats. In the Faroes the species has been found on Sphagnum and among heather (Bengtson and Hauge 1979) as well as in outfield pasture (own collection data). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Apparently uncommon on Eysturoy, Streymoy, and Vágar. The species is widespread and abundant in Icelandic lowlands up to 400 m a.s.l. (Agnarsson 1996). but is absent from Britain (Roberts, 1995). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Pardosa trailli (O. P.-Cambridge, 1873) - Highland wolf-spider
Only a single specimen is known from the Faroes. A female was taken at Kirkebö-Reyn on July 27, 1912 (Schenkel, 1925). It was identified as Pardosa eiseni but Schenkel's description of the specimen and the drawing of the epigyne fit Pardosa trailli better (a misidentification by Schenkel was also suspected by Holm (1980)). The two species differ in general appearance (Nentwig et al., 2003). Pardosa eiseni is characterized by having a light longitudinal median band on the carapace and yellow legs. Pardosa trailli on the other has an almost uniform dark carapace with unclear longitudinal bands and dark brown legs. Schenkel writes: "Der stark abgeriebene Körper ist schwarz, die noch vorhandenen Haare rotbraun; an der schwärzlichen Beinen sind die hellen Ringe nur angedeutet". Although the hairs of the carapace apparently were rubbed off Schenkels specimen the leg colouration is in accordance with Pardosa trailli. Also the his illustration of the epigyne points to Pardosa trailli. The septal ridge of the epigyne of Pardosa eiseni is expanded posteriorly with three large swellings while only the two lateral swellings are present in Pardosa trailli (Almquist, 2005). Schenkel's drawing of the epigyne shows only two swellings. However, it should be noted that some authors consider the epigynes of the two species to be identical (Nentwig et al., 2003). Pardosa trailli occurs in Scotland about 350 km from the Faroes while the nearest populations of Pardosa eiseni are found farther away in Norway about 600 km from the Faroes. None of the species are known from Iceland. Thus it is more probable that Pardosa trailli have colonised the Faroes or that stray specimens could reach the islands. Thus, in weighing the above evidence I find Pardosa trailli much more likely than Pardosa eiseni and in contrast to earlier checklists for the Faroes I have here removed Pardosa eiseni in favour of Pardosa trailli. Description: Male and female are similar in colouration (Almquist 2005). Carapace dark reddish brown with indistinct, lighter median band. Head and sternum blackish. Legs reddish brown with dark annulations. The abdominal dorsum is greyish black. Cardiac mark is reddish brown outlined with black. Posterior median band dark brown edged by yellowish white and black dots and some faint, light lines. Size: Female 6.5-8 mm; male 6-7.5 mm. Maturity: The only Faroese record, a female, was found in late July. In Sweden adults are found from June to September (Almquist, 2005). In Scotland both sexes are adult in June and July with females persisting in August (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Unknown for the Faroes. In Sweden the species is found in mires with sedges, stony shores of lakes and slopes with scree (Almquist, 2005). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Kirkebö-Reyn, Streymoy (Schenkel, 1925). A rare species in Scotland and unrecorded from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Also unrecorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Genus: Pirata Sundevall, 1833 - Pirate wolf spiders
Characters of genus: Small to medium-sized spiders with light median band on the carapace enclosing a dark tune fork-shaped marking. This marking is very characteristic for lighter coloured species, but may be difficult to distinguish at darker species. The cardiac mark is usually lighter than the ground colour of the abdomen. Most species have the cardiac mark followed by paired bluish-white or white dots which usually are very striking. Some species also have light bands at the sides of the abdomen. The species construct vertical tubes in peat moss which are used as retreats, however much time is also spent running about. They are capable of running on water surfaces where they catch prey both above and under the surface. Some species, in particular P. piscatorius, resemble species of the Dolomedes (Pisauridae), which occur in similar habitats.
Pirata piraticus (Clerck, 1757) - Pirate otter-spider
Description: Carapace dark yellow-brown with median and lateral bands yellow-brown. Margins with thin white line composed of white hairs. The tune fork marking in the median band is distinct with the arms of the fork reaching the posterior medial eyes. Abdomen reddish-brown with yellow cardiac mark outlined by thin white lines converging at rear. White lines are also present at the sides of the abdomen as well as rear half is marked with paired white spots. Legs yellow-green to yellow-brown. Male similar to female but white lines around the cardiac mark are reduced or absent. Both sexes are furnished with dark spots on the sternum. Size: Female 6-9 mm; male 5-6.5 mm. Maturity: In Britain adults are mainly found from May to September (Harvey et al. 2002) which presumably is in agreement with Faroese data. Habitat: On the Faroes the species has been found mostly in wet places such as wet Calluna heathland, wetlands at lakeshores, grassland along streams and ditches and in Sphagnum bogs but occasionally also in dry stony grass heath (Bengtson and Hauge 1979; Bengtson et al. 2004; own collection data). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Borðoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. The species is common in Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002) and Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Trochosa C. L. Koch, 1847 - Ground wolf spiders
Characters of genus: Robust spiders with a fairly dense clothing of the carapace with short hairs. Median band on carapace broadened anteriorly and enclosing two longitudinal, parallel dark bars. The females of the four species can be grouped in to two groups of two by the colour of the cardiac mark. Trochosa ruricola and the somewhat larger T. robusta are characterised by having the cardiac mark distinctly paler than the rest of the abdomen. The cardiac mark of the two other species, T. terrestris and T. spinipalpis is of the same colour as the general colour of the abdomen, and therefore rather indistinct. Male cardiac marks of the two latter species are often light and the colour in this sex is therefore not a reliable character in grouping species. However, adult males can be grouped by whether they possess a palpal claw, which is the case for T. ruricola and T. robusta. Males of all species with tibia, metatarsi and tarsi darkened on legs I. Nocturnal spiders that spend the daytime hidden in leaf litter, moss, etc. Females with eggsacks make a small burrow where they remain until the spiderlings emerge.
Trochosa terricola Thorell, 1856 - Ground wolf-spider
Description: Female carapace dark reddish-brown with distinct pale median band enclosing longitudinal dark bars behind the posterior eyes. Cardiac mark of abdomen is outlined with a thin dark border but of the same colour as the rest of the abdomen and therefore somewhat indistinct. Behind the cardiac mark are some faint, dark chevrons and paired light dots. Legs reddish-brown with vague annulations on the femora. Male usually with paler cardiac mark. The male does not possess a palpal claw. Size: Female 10-14 mm; male 7-10 mm. Maturity: Male and females have been found in August and September (Brændegaard 1928, Holm 1980). Females have also been found in May and July (own collection data). Habitat: Shrub heath and rich grassland (Bengtson and Hauge 1979). Brændegaard (1928) recorded he species from heather and under stones. Also recorded from a park (Viðarlundin) in Tvøroyr, Suðuroy (own collection data). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Viðoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. Known from Scotland, Orkney, and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002) but is unrecorded from Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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. In recent decades synanthropic species in particular have gradually increased their range in the cooler, temperate 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 years. 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. There is just one Faroese species, Pholcus phalangioides which cannot be mistaken for any other species on the islands. It is found in houses and believed to be a recent introduction.
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. Maturity: Adults can be found all year. Habitat: The species is found exclusively indoors on the Faroes. In colder climates such as the Faroese the species require the shelter and warmth of heated houses. The species builds it web in undisturbed parts of houses such as corners of ceilings, in cellars, behind washing machines etc. Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Viðoy, Eysturoy, Streymoy, and Vágar. Found indoors at Viðareiði, Saltangará, Rúnavík, Tórshavn, Sørvágur, and Miðvágur. Probably widespread on the islands. First record for the Faroes was from Tórshavn in 1989. More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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. There are two Faroese species, the widely distributed Metellina merianae which also occur in the colour variety Metellina merianae var celata and Tetragnatha extensa rather recently discovered on the islands of Vágoy and Eysturoy. Both species cannot be mistaken for any other species on the islands.
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
The single Faroese species occurs in two colour forms which are very much alike, except for the presence of a golden median band running whole length of abdomen in Metellina merianae celata. This colour form is sometimes regarded as a subspecies, Metellina merianae celata (Blackwall, 1841).
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. Maturity: February to November (Brændegård 1928, Lissner 2010). Very little collecting has taken place on Faroes outside these months and it is likely adults are to be found all year. In Britain adults of both sexes are found all year with peak in May and June (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Damp places with little sunshine (Brændegård 1928). Most commonly found in infields meadows but also in outfield grass- and heathland, on rocky slopes, under stones, under projecting brinks, as well as within settlements and inside houses (Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Brændegård 1928, Holm 1980, Schenkel 1925, Lissner 2010). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Widespread and very common on the Faroes. Recorded from Fugloy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Hestur, Koltur, Sandoy, Skúvoy, and Suðuroy. Known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). Old records of juveniles from Skaftafell, Iceland undoubtedly are misidentified M. mengei specimens as adults of this species were found later the locality (Agnarsson 1996). Due to the rarity of Metellina merianae celata it has only been recorded from Streymoy and Vágar. Most likely it can be found on any island inhabited by the normal colour form. More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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
The spider spins an more or less horizontal orb web with open hub in waterside or wetland vegetation. The web has no signal line and no retreat. The spiders often sit in the centre of the web with its legs stretched. If disturbed it will drop to the ground or cling to the vegetation adopting a stretch position along a leaf with the long legs stretched out rendering itself inconspicuous for predators. Mosquitoes are an important component of the diet which are primarily caught at dusk when the activity of these insects is high. 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. Maturity: Only a limited number of adult specimens have been taken on the Faroes amounting to a single male in May and three females in August. In Britain males and females are mainly found during May and August with a peak in July (Harvey et al., 2002). Habitat: Bushes and tall grasses usually near water. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Local at Eysturoy (Rituvík, Toftavatn) and Vágar (Heimaraleitið, Ytri Suðurtriðingur, Vørufelli). The species was recorded for the first time at Toftavatn in 2006 by Rodmund á Kelduni and he has now found it at several localities (own collection data). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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 two common Faroese species, Robertus lividus which is known from most islands and Steatoda bipunctata which is known to inhabit houses on several islands. Two additional species (Robertus arundineti and Crustulina guttata) have only been recorded on one occasion each. A fifth introduced species, Parasteatoda tepidariorum, is known to breed in a greenhouse on Vágoy.
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: Crustulina Menge, 1868
Characters of genus: The carapace is provided with pits and hairy warts and appears rugose. The eyes are subequal in size. The clypeus is very high - more than six times the diameter of an anterior median eye. Sternum also rugose and extended between coxae IV. The abdomen is globose. Colulus large and provided with two bristles. A stridulating organ is present.
Crustulina guttata (Wider, 1834) - White-spotted comb-foot
This species with its characteristic markings cannot be mistaken for any other species on the Faroes. This species builds a space web having catching threads with glue droplets near ground. The species eats ants which were until recent colonization of Lasius niger not assumed to occur on the Faroes. Description: Carapace and abdomen dark reddish brown with a tint of purple. The abdominal markings are very characteristic in this species with white dots arranged in three longitudinal rows. The legs are fairly long and slender with clear annulations. Size: Female 1.9-2.2 mm; male 1.9-2.1 mm. Maturity: The single Faroese female was found in July (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Britain adults are found all year but the majority are found in May, June and September. Habitat: The single female known from the Faroes was found in a rich herb and grass meadow near the shore at the Æðuvík settlement (Bengtson et al. 2004). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Eysturoy at Æðuvík. Only recorded once on the Faroes (Bengtson et al. 2004). This species is perhaps not a member of the Faroese fauna as it is unrecorded from the northern half of Britain (Harvey et al. 2002), indicating that the climate in the Faroes could be to cold for this species. Note that ants that make up the diet of this species are not members of the Faroese fauna. Although ants have been introduced to the Faroes on several occasions, colonies appear not to persist indicating that ants are an unstable food source for the spider. I therefore assume that the single Faroese female is a stray specimen until further search reveal more specimens. More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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 tepidariorum (C. L. Koch, 1841) - Glasshouse comb-foot
The species builds its web in the corners of greenhouses and in the angles of the structures supporting the glass areas. The species constructs no retreat but stays in a part of the web that is more densely woven. It is commonly observed that the female is standing guard upon its large egg sacks fastened in the web. The papery, brownish egg sacks are ovoid or pear shaped and measure up to nine mm in diameter. 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. Maturity: Adult specimens are found at all seasons indoors. Habitat: This spider is common house spider in southern temperate regions but also inhabit greenhouses in cooler regions. The species is very often introduced to new areas with products exported from greenhouses and the species has also arrived to the Faroes. Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Streymoy and Vágoy. On the Faroes the species has been found at the SMS trading centre at Tórshavn. A breeding population is known from a greenhouse at Sandavágur, Vágoy. A single possibly stray specimen has been found in the outfield grassland Heimaraleitið at Miðvágur, Vágoy. Cosmopolitan. More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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Genus: Robertus O. P.-Cambridge, 1879
The species live at ground level in detritus, under stones, in moss, and leaf litter. Sometimes also under algal upwash and in cracks in the ground.
Characters of genus: The species resemble linyphiids because of the small size of the species and their oval unicoloured abdomens in shades of grey. The head region of the carapace is darker than the thoracic region. The two eye rows are fairly wide with each eye almost contiguous with the corresponding eye of the adjacent row. The abdomen is provided with two or three pairs of pale or reddish sigilla (dots marking points of internal muscle attachments). Legs are relatively short and differ from those of the linyphiids by possessing a comb on tarsi IV and by the tarsi being darker than femora.
Robertus arundineti (O. P.-Cambridge, 1871) - Fen leaden-colored comb-foot
The species resemble the very similar and much more common Robertus lividus. However, R. arundineti is a much smaller species and there is only little size overlap. Using a lens the females are easily separable by their epigynes with the epigynal atrium (visible as a black area) being much larger in R. lividus. Males of R. arundineti are sometimes reddish which never seems to be the case with males of R. lividus. Description: Carapace, legs and sternum reddish brown. The abdomen vary in colour from light to dark grey sometimes brownish grey. Patella and femora lighter than remaining leg segments. Size: Female 2.2-2.7 mm; male 2-2.3 mm. Maturity: Only a single adult female has been taken on the Faroes on September 2, 1912. Adults are found throughout the year in northwest Europe, mainly in the period April to September. Habitat: The single Faroese specimen was found under a stone on a slope (Schenkel, 1925). Within its range the species can be found at ground level in a wide variety of habitats including beach upwash and both open and shaded wetlands. Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Vágoy at Bøsdalafossur. Also known from Orkney, Shetland and Iceland (Agnarsson 1996, Harvey et al. 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Robertus lividus (Blackwall, 1836) - Common leaden-colored comb-foot
Description: Carapace yellowish brown to dark brown usually distinctly darker in head region. Chelicers dark brown. Legs coloured as thoracic part of carapace with apical segments darker. Epigynal atrium large and shallow visible as a large dark area. Dorsum of abdomen in various shades of grey sometimes brownish grey. Sigilla usually reddish brown. Size: Female 3-4 mm; male 2.8-3.2 mm. Maturity: Adult females have been found from April to October and males from May to September (own collection data). In Britain adults are found throughout the year with a peak between April and July (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: In the Faroes this species is mainly found under stones up to at least 700 m, but specimens are also found in grass and moss (Brændegaard, 1928, own collection data). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: A common species in the Faroes. Recorded from Svínoy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, and Suðuroy (Brændegaard, 1928, Bengtson & Hauge 1979, Holm 1980, own collection data). Widespread throughout Britain, also known from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002), but apparently missing in Iceland (Agnarsson, 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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 bipunctata (Linnaeus, 1758) - Common false-widow
It spins a three-dimensional criss cross tangle web at floor level or in the corners of ceilings and windows. The spider is frequently seen in this web which can become quite large in the absence of cleaning. If disturbed, the spider rushes away and hides itself. It preys on crawling invertebrates. Special viscid lines are attached to the substrate under tension. Prey may become fastened upon touching these lines and during the subsequent struggle to liberate itself the silk thread breaks from the substrate causing the prey to become helplessly suspended in the the air and convenient to handle for the spider. Description: The carapace is rugose, dark brown to black. Legs are reddish brown annulated with dark brown. The abdomen is brown sometimes blackish with characteristics whitish markings along the midline and anterior edge. Only rarely are these markings absent. Size: Female 5-7 mm; male 4.5-5.5 mm. Maturity: Probably all year. Males have been found in August and November while females have been found in March, April, June, November and December (own collection data). In Britain adults of both sexes are found throughout the year with peaks in the summer - autumn period (Harvey et al., 2002). Habitat: Buildings, mostly indoors on the Faroes such as sheep stables and residential houses. A high number of specimens was found in stable at Sund, fewer specimens were seen on the outside of the stable hiding in cracks (rafter under eaves, window frames). In Britain the species is mainly found in and around buildings and less commonly on old and dead trees with cavities serving as hiding places (Harvey et al., 2002). Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Settlements at Nólsoy, Streymoy, Suðuroy and Vágoy. The species was first recorded for the Faroes on a journey undertaken by J. Chr. Svabo in 1781-82 (Svabo, 1783). The species was listed as Aranea bipunctata along with another house dwelling species, Tegenaria domestica (listed as Aranea domestica). Since then the species was unrecorded for almost 220 years until it was rediscovered in 1999. Now it is known to breed in houses in several settlements on four islands. The species is absent from Iceland, individuals found in 1892 were probably introduced and no further specimens have been found since (Agnarsson, 1996). Widespread in Britain, scattered in the north but absent from Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al., 2002). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
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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 in two genera on the Faroe Islands. One species, Ozyptila atomaria is apparently very rare known only from Kunoy. Ozyptila trux and Xysticus cristatus are both fairly widespread, the latter species appreciably more common.
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: Ozyptila Simon, 1864 - Leaflitter crab spiders
The species are ambush hunters found at ground level amongst low vegetation, in leaf litter, detritus and in crevices in soil, rocks. At night they may be found higher up in the vegetation indicating a nocturnal lifestyle. They move around very slowly, and may play dead for a long time if disturbed. The females attach their egg sacks under stones or other objects on the ground.
Characters of genus: The members of this genus have colours and markings that make them resemble species of the Xysticus genus. However, they differ by being smaller, by having the median ocular trapezium longer than broad and by having the head protruded from thorax so that the carapace appear less circular. In addition they have only two pairs of ventral spines on tibia I and II, and the body is clothed with clavate hairs. These break off fairly easily, and may therefore be lacking. In some species the setae are very small and difficult to see with a lens. The abdomen is without a folium but with spots and transverse bars. Femur I is often swollen on prolateral side. Legs III and IV are only slightly shorter than I and II. Males are usually darker than females and more compactly bodied. This is in contrast to most other spider species where males usually are more slender and long-legged compared to females.
Ozyptila atomaria (Panzer, 1801) - Greater leaflitter crab spider
Description: Ozyptila atomaria is one of the larger species in the genus. The male carapace is dark reddish brown with wide black submarginal bands. Dorsum of abdomen greyish brown with indistinct darker spots. Front and sides whitish. The tibial apophysis is blunt. The legs are reddish-brown. The clavate hairs on the carapace and abdomen are absent in males (very small in females). The female carapace is yellowish brown and the submarginal bands less distinct than i males. Dorsum of abdomen is light brown with only a few dark, scattered spots. The legs are light brown in the female. Size: Female 4.5-6.5 mm; male 3-4.5 mm. Maturity: The three Faroese males were found in summer (Bengtson et al. 2004). In Britain adults of both sexes are found throughout the year but mainly from March to October (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: On the Faroes outfield grassland or heathland. In Britain the species is known to inhabit the litter layer of grassland and heathland as well as stony areas especially in the north (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Perhaps native species, breeding status unknown. Range: Kunoy. The species has only been found on one occasion on the Faroes. Three males were taken in 1984 using pitfall traps situated just north of the settlement at Kunoy at 140 m a.s.l. (Bengtson et al. 2004). The species is known from Scotland but not Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002). The species has not been recorded on Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Ozyptila trux (Blackwall, 1846) - Yellow leaflitter crab spider
Description: The male is darker in coloration than the female. The male carapace is brown with wide dark bands flanking the median area, which is widest posterior to the eyes. In addition, there are dark submarginal bands almost reaching the edge. The abdomen is brown with some darker blotches, an indistinct white cardiac mark, and some white transverse lines in posterior half. The female carapace is light yellowish brown with much narrower dark bands than the female and with the lateral bands sometimes absent. The abdomen is marked much like the male, but the colouration is lighter and dominated by light colours. Size: Female 4-5.5 mm; male 3.3-4 mm. Maturity: In Britain males are mainly found from May to July, females throughout year but mainly in summer (Harvey et al. 2002). Habitat: Found in dwarf shrub and grass heaths and infield meadows (Bengtson and Hauge 1979). The species is recorded from a wide range of wet and dry grassland, heath and woodland in Britain (Harvey et al. 2002). Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: Viðoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. Known from Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002) but not Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Female.
Subadult male.
Subadult male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Genus: Xysticus C. L. Koch, 1835 - Ground crab spiders
Characters of genus: These spiders are medium sized and crablike. Most species are in various shades of brown and grey with patterns made of white and yellow blotches and bars. Males are often darker than females and with more vivid tints. The carapace is brownish with central whitish-yellow band enclosing a darker triangle behind the posterior eyes and pointing backwards. The carapace is armed with long black spines which are round, Hereby they differ from the related genus, Ozyptila which have short blunt or clavate spines. The median ocular trapezium forms almost a square or is slightly wider than long. The anterior lateral eyes are clearly larger than the rest, the lateral eyes of both rows on independent tubercles. The abdomen is wider at rear bearing a folium dorsally and usually with white blotches and transverse bars. The legs are short, stout and spiny. Most species ambush prey on low vegetation, while others are found in leaf litter, under stones and bark.
Xysticus cristatus (Clerck, 1757) - Common ground crab spider
Description: The dark triangle on the carapace extends back about two thirds of the length of the carapace from the posterior row of eyes, and ends in a well-defined dark point. The female abdomen is very variable in colouration and markings. Male as female but smaller and darker. Size: Female 6-8 mm; male 3-5 mm. Maturity: In Britain males are mainly found in May and June with females having a longer season declining in late autumn (Harvey et al. 2002). This is in agreement with Faroese maturity data for this species. Habitat: Amongst moss, grass and dwarf shrub heaths and open infield meadows in both dry and moist conditions. Origin and breeding status: Native, breeding species. Range: The species is widespread and common. Known from Fugloy, Svínoy, Viðoy, Borðoy, Kunoy, Eysturoy, Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Koltur, Sandoy, and Suðuroy. The species is also common in Scotland, Orkney and Shetland (Harvey et al. 2002) and Iceland (Agnarsson 1996). More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Male.
Male.
Female.
Female.
Family: Uloboridae (Cribellate Orb Weavers)
This is a fairly small family, which is represented by ca. 263 species placed in 18 genera and 4 subfamilies. They range in size from small to medium (3-10 mm body size). They spin complete orb webs or sections of orbs similar to the Araneidae and related families. The plane of the web is often more or less horizontal. The spiral threads are made up of cribellate silk rather than silk with glue droplets as in the Araneidae. Uloborids are also unique among spiders in lacking poison glands. Once a prey is tangled in the web it is very carefully covered with silk and feeding begins only when the prey is fully immobilised. There is just one introduced Faroese species, Uloborus plumipes which cannot be mistaken for any other species on the islands. Specimens have been found in a greenhouse on Vágoy, in a warehouse in Tórshavn and in a few houses.
Characters of family: The uloborids are entelegyne, cribellate spiders having four or eight eyes and three tarsal claws. They eyes are arranged in two rows of four in the subfamilies Hyptiotinae and Uloborinae. In Miagrammopinae the anterior row is reduced leaving just one row of four. The fourth subfamily, Tangaroinae, has mixed arrangement of the eyes since this subfamily is defined by other characters than carapace morphology. The eyes of Hyptiotes are very peculiar since they are placed rather far back on the carapace. The posterior row is situated about midway on the carapace and the laterals are placed on tubercles. The anterior row is also well removed from the front of the head. Uloborids are also characterized by a dorsally compressed, curved metatarsus IV possessing a uniseriate calamistrum (often absent in males). Additionally diagnostic characters include rows of long trichobothria on femora and the absence of poison glands. The carapace form is very different among the subfamilies and varies from long and narrow (Miagrammopinae) to ovoid (Uloborinae) and triangular (Hyptiotinae). The carapace is clothed with plumose hairs except in the Uloborinae. The sternum is divided in Miagrammopinae but undivided in other subfamilies. The shape is variable, some long, some oval, and some roughly triangular. The chelicerae do not possess a lateral condyle or poison glands. The fang furrows are provided with a cluster of small teeth or with fewer larger teeth. The shape of the labium is also very different among the subfamilies. In Hyptiotinae and Uloborinae it is semicircular but longer in Miagrammopinae. Many species have legs I and IV the longest with legs II only slightly shorter than legs IV. In Uloborinae tibia I is provided with a brush of long hairs. The female palp is provided with a dentate claw. The abdomen may have one or more pairs of humps (four pairs in Hyptiotes cavatus). Usually the colours and body shape provide excellent camouflage but there are some exceptions, for example Uloborus walckenaerius is easily spotted in the field. The anal tubercle is large and two-segmented. The anterior spinners are three-segmented. An undivided cribellum is present in front of the spinners with the exception of some males. The tracheal spiracle is situated in front of the cribellum. The epigyne is with paired projections (e.g. Uloborus) or unpaired (e.g. Hyptiotes). The male palp is complicated sometimes relatively large compared to the size of the spider. The palpal femur has a small tubercle in many species.
Genus: Uloborus Latreille, 1806
The European members of this genus spin a horizontal orb web up to about 30 cm in diameter. There is no retreat, but the web is often reinforced with stabilimenta, which are bands of dense silk running through the web. When the spider rest on a stabilimentum it may render the spider less conspicuous for predators.
Characters of genus: Carapace oval, longer than wide. The two eye rows are of about the same length. Posterior row is strongly recurved anterior row less so. The eyes are subequal. Tarsus IV longer than half the length of metatarsus IV. In many species tibia I is provided with a brush of hairs. Dorsal compression of metatarsi under calamistrum IV indistinct.
Uloborus plumipes Lucas, 1846 - Feather-legged lace weaver, Garden center spider
Description: Leg I is very long, about 5 times the length of the carapace. Tibia I is provided with several stout spines but are difficult to discern because of the dense hairing of the legs. Calamistrum on leg IV with about 50 bristles. The long brush of hairs on distal half is on the other hand very conspicuous. The abdomen is provided with two large humps. The species is very variable in colouration. Some specimens are unicoloured in light cream with few golden hairs on carapace and legs. Other specimens are much darker, usually brownish very often mottled in lighter colours. Darker specimens also have the legs annulated with lighter hairs. Size: Female 4-6 mm; male 3-4 mm. Maturity: All year. Habitat: The species is only able to survive indoors in northern Europe. It is typically found in greenhouses, flower shops and in supermarkets selling plants and vegetables. The females are often observed to guard their egg sacks indicating that they are able to breed in these places. People buying products in these shops may bring the species to their homes but here the chance of escaping the vacuum cleaner is slim. Origin and breeding status: Introduced species, breeding confirmed. Range: Nólsoy, Streymoy, Vágoy. Specimens have been found in a greenhouse at Sandevåg, Vágoy, in the SMS warehouse (a trading company), Tórshavn and in houses at Miðvágur and the Nólsoy settlement. Known from many European countries and parts of Africa and Asia. More information: Go to species data sheet on Araneae - Spiders of Europe.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
Female.
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Links
Araneae - Spiders of Europe
Araneae, Spiders of North-West Europe
Danmarks Fugle og Natur
Faroe Nature
Fotogalerie Arachnida
Jens-Kjeld Jensen - Nólsoy
Pavouci - CZ (Spiders of the Czech Republic)
The World Spider Catalog by Platnick
The Spiders of the Faroe Islands
Images and Species Descriptions
© 2011 Jørgen Lissner