Pirate spiders

Family Mimetidae

Only one genus is present in this family.

Genus Ero

Ero is the only genus found in middle Europe and four species are known.
This attractive spider is very small; the size varies between 2.5 and 4 mm.
The legs usually have clear rings of pigment and the last two segments of their first forelegs are armed with a series of long alternated short spines.
This is a spider killer as her name suggests in German; Spinnenfresser (spider eater). She seeks out other webs and plucks the threads of the web with her legs to attract the prey. After a quick attack and lethal bite, with a quickly paralyzing venom, she sucks the victim dry through a hole in the legs of the victim.
Her eggs are laid in a cocoon surrounded with a wiry silk and are left to hatch on their own. Every female makes 2 -3 sacs. The sacs can be seen in late summer far more often than the spider itself.

The pictures below were kindly provided by Alois Scheuwimmer,Perg, Österreich

Note the wiry silk around the cocoon that resembles a copper thread
Egg cocoon Ero aphana feeding on Theridion sisyphium
Ero aphana subadult Ero aphana adult female

Ed Nieuwenhuys, July 19, 2008
03 November, 2002

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