Spider identification location chart

With 41253 (30 April 2010) identified spiders and with probably more this amount of unidentified ones, it is difficult to identify a spider from a picture.

The genitals of the male and female spider are used for professional identification. When a species is officially recorded the male and female are intensively described and the genitals are drawn. Often the eye-setting is also key feature to identify a spider.
The last decade photography of the spider parts replaces drawings.
An advantage of drawing still is; it can emphasise details that are lost in photographs.
After identification the specimens are stored for further investigations when doubt arises about the name of the species.
Officially described species are recorded in a database known as "The World Spider Catalog" of Norman Platnick.
It was a hell of a task to reduce over 200 years of multiple naming of one species to a single unique name. In this database one can see how specie names are combined or moved to other genera. Name giving is volatile because identification is done by subjective features of the spider.
Assigning a spiders to a family and genus is often discussable. DNA-sequencing can show more precisely in which genus and family a species belongs but is also subject to error.

 

Drawings of male and female genitalia of an orb-weaving spider (Araneidae) by   N. Duperre (in Framenau et. al. 2010).

For amateurs it is not always essential to find the exact name a of spider.
Finding the family name of a spider is often more than enough.
The family name often describes the behaviour of a spider well enough.
For instance: Almost all wolf spider runs in packs before you feet away. That is why they were name wolf spider. It was long believed they hunted in packs like wolfs.
A jumping spider jumps and belongs to a very large family called "jumping spiders" with 5245 species world wide.

The two tables, the drawings of spiders and webs below will make it easier to identify a European spider.
Together with the thumbnail page you can find the family or your spider in an easy way.

Left pedipalp of Backobourkia heroine

Click around. Success. ß Back

Left expanded pedipalp of Backobourkia heroine by N. Scharff & J. Coddington (in Framenau et. al. 2010).

>> Thumbnail page with European spider photos to identify the spider from a picture.

Identification by scientific name

 

Inside and outside buildings

On or close to the ground

Under stones, logs, litter, et cetera

Low or medium foliage

Tall shrubs and trees, under bark

Rock, walls, caves, banks

Close to water
or in water

No web, no retreat

Hunters

Salticidae

Gnaphosidae

Clubionidae

Anyphaenidae

Anyphaenidae

Dysderidae

Pisauridae

Scytodidae

Pisauridae

Dysderidae

Clubionidae

Clubionidae

Mimetidae

 
  Salticidae

Gnaphosidae

Mimetidae

Gnaphosidae

Salticidae

 
 

Zoridae

Liocranidae

Oxyopidae

Liocranidae

Segestriidae

 
    Oonopidae

Pisauridae

Salticidae

   
     

Salticidae

Sparassidae

   
     

Sparassidae

     

No web, no retreat

Ambushers, fishers

     

Philodromidae

Philodromidae

 

Pisauridae

     

Thomisidae

Thomisidae

   

Web

Orb

Uloboridae

 

Araneidae

Araneidae

 

Araneidae

Araneidae

    Uloboridae

Tetragnathidae

 

Metidae

Metidae

     

Uloboridae

 

Uloboridae

Tetragnathidae

Web

Tangle

Pholcidae

Theridiidae

Theridiidae

Linyphiidae

Linyphiidae

Pholcidae

 

Theridiidae

   

Theridiidae

Theridiidae

Nesticidae

 
         

Theridiidae

 

Web

Sheet

Agelenidae

Hahniidae

Linyphiidae

Linyphiidae

 

Agelenidae

 

Linyphiidae

Linyphiidae

Titanoecidae Titanoecidae      

Zoropsidae

           

Burrow, mesh, tubular retreat

 

Agelenidae

Agelenidae

Atypidae

Dictynidae

Amaurobiidae

Oecobiidae

Agelenidae

Amaurobiidae

Lycosidae

Clubionidae

Miturgidae

Dysderidae

Salticidae

Argyronetidae

Oecobiidae

Eresidae

Gnaphosidae

Oxyopidae

Segestriidae

 

Lycosidae

Identification by common name

 

Inside and outside buildings

On or close to the ground

Under stones, logs, litter, et cetera

Low or medium foliage

Tall shrubs and trees, under bark

Rock,walls, caves,banks

Close to water
or in water

No web, no retreat

Hunters

Jumping

Flat-bellied ground

Sac

Tube

Tube

Long-fanged

Fishing / Nursery web

Spitting

Fishing / Nursery web

Long-fanged

Sac

Sac

Pirate

 
 

Jumping

Flat-bellied ground

Pirate

Flat-bellied ground

Jumping

 
 

Wandering

Spiny–legged sac

Lynx

Spiny–legged sac

   
    Dwarf-hunting

Fishing / Nursery web

Jumping

   
     

Jumping

Huntsman

   
      Huntsman      

No web, no retreat

Ambushers, fishers

     

Small huntsman

Small huntsman

 

Fishing / Nursery web

     

Crab

Crab

   

Web

Orb

Single-line web

 

Orb web

Orb web

 

Orb web

Orb web

   

Single-line web

Stretch

 

Orb stretch

Orb stretch

     

Single-line web

 

Single-line web

Stretch

Web

Tangle

Daddy-long legs

Cob web

Cob web

Sheet web

Sheet web

Daddy-long legs

 

Cob web

   

Cob web

Cob web

Cave cob web

 
         

Cob web

 

Web

Sheet

Funnel weavers

Dwarf sheet

Sheet web

Sheet web

 

Funnel weavers

 

Sheet web

Sheet web

Rock weaver Rock weaver      

Ground

           

Burrow, mesh, tubular retreat

 

Funnel weavers

Funnel weavers

Purse web

Mesh web

Meshweb

Disc web  

Funnel weavers

Meshweb

Wolf

Sac

Prowling

Long-fanged

Jumping

Water

Disc web

Lady bird / velvet

Flat-bellied ground

Lynx

Tube-web

  Wolf

 

 

Agelenidae

Amaurobiidae

Araneidae

Atypidae

Clubionidae

Funnelweb spider

Meshweb weaver

Orbweb spider

Purseweb spider

Sac spider

Dictynidae

Dysderidae

Eresidae

Gnaphosidae

Linyphiidae

Meshweb spider

Cell spider

Lady bird spider

Ground spider

 Sheet web spider

Lycosidae

Oonopidae

Oxyopidae

Philodromidae

Pholcidae

Wolf spider

Dwarf cell spider

Lynx spider

Crab spider

Daddy longleg

Pisauridae

Salticidae

Scytodidae

Segestriidae

Tetragnathidae

Big wolf spider

Jumping spider

Spitting spider

Six-eyed spider

Stretch spider

Theridiidae

Thomisidae

Uloboridae

Zodariidae

Zoridae

 Scaffold web

Crab spider

Cribellate spider

Burrowing spider

Wandering spider

 

 

>> Thumbnail page with Australian spider photos to identify the spider from a picture.

(1) With permission from: Framenau, V. W. , Dupérré, N., Blackledge, T.A. and Vink, C.J. 2010. Systematics of the new Australian orb-weaving spider genus Backobourkia (Araneae: Araneidae). Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny 68 , 79-111 .  

Ed Nieuwenhuys, 5 May 2010
April 1999

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