Friday, 26 January 2018


Early last year, while out photographing insects, I saw, and photographed, a rather strikingly marked and colourful spider. On reviewing the photographs later, and not knowing anything about spiders, I decided to do some research. After a lot of Google(ing) and looking at Facebook spider groups, I became totally hooked on what to me is now a fascinating subject.  

Needless to say many more photographs duly appeared....strange how that happens!
Some (just a few!!) I've posted below...I hope you find them interesting?  

Common Candy-striped Spider - Enoplognatha ovata  (f. lineata) ♀     Body length 4-6mm 
This is the most common of the three colour forms. Of the other two,  f.redimita has two longitudinal red bands on the abdomen and  f. ovata has a broad central red band.  Hence the name Candy-striped.

Crab Spider - Xysticus species  (poss. X kochi)  ♀   Body length 6-8mm
A squat crab like spider, they lie in wait on low vegetation ready to ambush their prey.

Daddy Long Legs Spider - Pholcus phalangioides    Body length 7-10mm
A member of the Cellar Spiders genera. Found almost always indoors where it spins it's web and hangs upside down, usually, in ceiling corners.

Easter Fox Spider - Alopecosa barbipes  ♂    Body length 8-12mm  
Found in sparsely vegetated open heathland. The female digs a burrow in which she hides and protects her egg-sac.

Fleecy Jumper - Pseudeuophrys lanigera    Body length 4-5mm 
This small spider is associated with buildings and human habitation, often seen on outside walls and window sills.
First recorded in Britain in 1930. 

Furrow Orb-weaver Spider - Larinioides cornutus  ♂     Body length 5-8mm    
Found in tall vegetation close to water where it spins it's large web.  This is the normal white/black colour form there is also an orange/brown colour form.

Garden (cross) Spider - Araneus diadematus   ♀   Body length 12-19mm
An abundant spider, it's webs can be found anywhere where the vegetation is strong enough to hold them. The female is much larger than the male and can usually be found sitting motionless in the center of her web.

Green Mesh Weaver - Green Leaf Spider - Nigma Walckenaeri   ♂     Body length  3-4mm
This small spider is found only in central-eastern England where it favours Holly and other garden shrubs. The male has a brown carapace whereas the slightly bigger female is entirely green.

Labyrinth Spider - Agelena labyrinthica   ♀    Body length  8-9mm 
The female spins a labyrinth type web consisting of a maze of funnel like tubes low down in the vegetation. Her egg-sac is then placed deep inside the web. 

Large House Spider - Tegenaria gigantes     Body length  10-14mm 
If you've got a large web indoors or in a shed or outbuildings this spider is probably the owner. Common throughout most of Europe, a spider that can cause a certain amount of uproar when spotted scurrying across the living room carpet!
This one I spotted sitting on my wife's slippers, luckily she was out at the time,  did I tell her?....No, of course I didn't!!

Missing Sector Orb Web Spider - Zygiella x-notata  ♀   Body length  6-7mm
This spider is always associated with human habitation were it spins it's web in the outside corners of door and window frames or under rain gutters etc.  There is always an empty sector in the web with a single thread of silk running through the middle, this is a 'signal line' -  the female sits, hidden in her retreat,  at the other end of the line waiting for the vibrations to tell her that prey (dinner) has landed in the web.

Have you ever been laying in bed fidgety and restless because you couldn't get all your arms and legs into a comfortable position?  Perhaps this next spider can show you how to get those wayward limbs sorted!

 Nursery Web Spider - Pisaura mirabilis   Body length  10-15mm
The female constructs a large tent like web as a nursery in which to protect her newly hatched brood.

Pardosa species - poss. Pardosa prativaga    Body length  up to 6mm
Part of a large family of  Wolf Spiders - there are fifteen British Pardosa species.  Very common in the south of the country in a wide range of habitats.

Running Crab Spider - Philodromus dispar   Body length  up to 5mm
Part of another large genus with thirteen British species. Noted for their crab like appearance and erratic, often sideways, movements.  P. dispar is common in the southern part of Britain and is found in a wide range of habitats.

Running Crab Spider - Philodromus collinus  ♀  Body length  up to 6mm
Only found in the south east of Britain usually on the leaves of evergreen trees such as Yew and pines but occasionally on broadleaved trees in mixed woodland.

Sac Spider - Clubiona sp. ♀   Body length  up to 10mm
There are 21 Clubiona species in Britain, most are identical in appearance and microscopic dissection and examination of their genitalia is required to separate them.

Sand Bear-spider - Arctosa perita  ♂   Body length  6-9mm
This is the culprit that started me on my spider journey - and you can see why!

A common spider in the UK where it prefers a sandy heathland type of habitat in which to excavate it's burrow.

Stone Spider/Ground Spider - poss. Drassodes capidosus  ♀   Body length  9-18mm
As the name suggest these spiders can be found under stones in deep vegetation where they feed on ground living insects. Again genitalia examination is required to separate the three British Drassodes species.

 Swamp Crab-spider - Xysticus ulmi    Body length  3-8mm
Found in low damp (marshy) habitats in south east England.

ID unknown?...
I've included this because I really like the photo..just look at those fangs! 
This is the only photograph that I took of this individual so, sadly, not much hope of an id.

Wolf Spider - Pardosa amentata  ♂ ♀   Body length  5-8mm
Found in a large variety of habitats this is probably the commonest species of Pardosa to see.
I watched this pair for about twenty minutes as they engaged in a 'mating dance', the female (on the right) would sit motionless as the male slowly crept towards her intermittently vibrating his body or slowly waving his pedipalps around, semaphore fashion. When he got too close she would quickly strike out towards him making him retreat back to a 'safe' distance and the ritual would start over again. Unfortunately I never got to see if he 'got lucky'...I think I moved too quickly while taking photos and they both suddenly vanished under the vegetation...or maybe, they just got shy?

White Crab Spider - Misumena vatia   Body length  9-11mm
An unmistakable light coloured spider typically found on flower heads along woodland rides and hedgerows.  The female has the ability to change colour, through shades of white to green, to match the colour of the flower head that she's resting on.  The male is much smaller and has brown legs.

Common Zebra Spider - Salticus scenicus   ♀  Body length  5-7mm  
My favourite little spider!  Can often be seen sitting in the sunshine on walls, fences and window sills waiting to jump onto any passing prey.

If you've got to the end of this well done, I hope I haven't given you too much of a spider overload?

It's a fascinating subject on which I've learnt a lot over the last few months and hopefully I'll be able to learn some more in the coming months...and maybe find something a bit rarer? 


ADRIAN said...

Just in for a tea and a warm and this came as a wonderful excuse to hang around. I will have to settle down and get some more spiders this year.
Great images.

The Herald said...

Thanks Adrian.
I'm glad to be of assistance in legitimising your extended tea break...[;o)

Roy Norris said...

Quite a variety Trevor. Great photography as always.
Not a subject you notice much when you are out and about as you are usually looking for something a lot bigger.

Douglas Mcfarlane said...

I'm left speechless at the quality of images Trevor but equally speechless at the variety we have here, never knew it

The Herald said...

Thanks Roy, this is just a few of the more common ones...there's lots more out there, I just need to find them!
Yep, a tad smaller than the usual fare..and a lot faster too!...[;o)

Thanks Douglas, your other half will no doubt be pleased with the peace and quiet?
These are just some of the easy ones to find, there's lots more that are not so easy...I'm totally hooked. Might start calling myself Spider Man!!...[;o)

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Great series - thanks for this. As a lifelong birder I guess that I have primarily thought of insects and spiders as prey for birds, but in recent years I have studied them quite a bit more and there is indeed a whole fascinating world to be discovered - not without its identification challenges, however!

The Herald said...

David, thanks for dropping by. Yes, it's a truly fascinating, mini beast, world out there and I'm thoroughly enjoying the journey! It's a steep learning curve though!!...[;o)