Flat-bellied ground spiders

Family Gnaphosidae Home <------


Zelotes praeficus
This family is closely related to the family Clubionidae. Forty-one species of this family are known in NW-Europe.
They have large cylindrical spinners. Their abdomen has no clear markings and the colors range between grayish brown and black. Gnaphosids are nocturnal hunters and spend the day in a silken retreat.
Gnaphosidae youngsters
The females make their thick walled egg sacs in the summer and guard it until the youngsters are born.  

Genus Drassodes

Several species can be found in our region. They have a hairy mouse, grey-brown abdomen and resemble some Clubiona species. However, they are easily distinguished by the long tubular spinners. Females seal themselves in silken cells with their egg sac. They are nocturnal hunters.
Their size varies between 9 and 18 mm
Drassodes lapidosus Drassodes lapidosus
Drassodes lapidosus Drassodes lapidosus
Drassodes lapidosus Drassodes lapidosus
Drassodes lapidosus Drassodes lapidosus

Genus Callilepis

This beautiful ant-hunting spider can be found on dry hot places.

Their size varies between 4 and 7 mm.

Males have a golden shine while the females have a more silver reflection. Callilepis schuszteri is not common is our region but found in middle and southern Europe. Callilepis nocturna can be found up to Finland.
Both spider species are almost identical in appearance. Mating takes place in June and approximately 20 eggs of 7 mm are laid in a white cocoon

The spider hunts ants in short bursts of movement during daytime in the hot sun preferable between 12h and 14h. The ants are always attacked head-on and always bitten in their antenna. After the first short bite the spider retreats for a minute and waits at the moment the ant starts running in circles. Then the spider applies a longer lasting bite. When the ant is paralysed the spider tucks the ant underneath her and start running for a hiding place while often being attacked by other ants.
During the night she hides in a silken retreat under stones, wood or debris.

  Callilepis schuszteri or nocturna


Genus Poecilochroa

Two species occur in this region. Her abdomen has a clear pattern of white hairs.
They can be found under stones and are frequently active in the sunshine.
Their size varies between 6 and 9 mm.
 

Poecilochroa conspicua

Poecilochroa conspicua

Poecilochroa conspicua

Poecilochroa conspicua


Genus Nomisia

This spider with a size between 6 and 12 mm can be found at daytime predating ants on dry spots between grass and on dunes.

Nomisia aussereri Nomisia aussereri
Nomisia aussereri female. Nomisia aussereri male.


Genus Micaria

These spiders are also called ant-mimicking spiders. Fifteen species are described and their size is between 2.5 and 7 mm.
They can be seen running between detritus and stones in an ant-like fashion in the sunshine searching for prey.
Micaria spiders have an iridescent abdomen that can become very beautiful in the sunshine.

Micaria romana
Micaria romana Micaria romana
Micaria pulicaria Micaria ZZ459
Micaria pulicaria Micaria ZZ459
Micaria ZZ458 Micaria ZZ458
Micaria ZZ458 Micaria ZZ458

Genus Scotophaeus (Herpyllus)

 

Scotophaeus blackwalli
Scotophaeus blackwalli
The three species (Scotophaeus blackwalli, quadripunctatus and scutulatus) in this genus are quite large (8-16 mm) and very similar in appearance. These spiders have a mousy-grey abdomen without markings.
They are nocturnal wanderers and are found mainly in and around houses and under bark. They are aggressive hunters and hunt like a jumping spider.
It jumps on the ambushed prey. It is one of the most efficient killers in our house but hardly seen because they do their job during the night.

Scotophaeus blackwalli
Scotophaeus blackwalli
Spinners of Scotophaeus blackwalli Scotophaeus blackwalli
Scotophaeus blackwalli
Scotophaeus blackwalli
Scotophaeus blackwalli guardig her eggs. Right detail of the head and below detail of a leg
Scotophaeus blackwalli


Genus Zelotus

Most spiders of this genus are black and are between 3 - 8 mm in large.
They are nocturnal hunters and can be found under stones and detritus. They make a disk shaped egg sac that is white or pink of color.

Zelotes pusillus
Zelotes pusillus

Zelotes praeficus

Zelotes praeficus

Zelotes praeficus

Zelotes praeficus

Zelotus pedestris

Zelotes pusillus

Zelotus pedestris

Zelotes pusillus

Zelotes latreillei Zelotes latreillei
Zelotes latreillei Zelotes latreillei


 Ed Nieuwenhuys, 20 October 2011
5 September 2011, 7 August 2011 , 7 May 2010, March 13, 2000