AW Arachnid Book: Spiders (Araneae) - Photos & Descriptions

Sun May 20, 2012 7:52 pm

Africa Wild Arachnid Book: Araneae (Spiders)

Upload your picture of a spider and add a description underneath. Please only do one species per post.

All entries will be edited and updated (additional photos and information will be added by moderators). New entries will be posted according to taxonomic order and the post date does not reflect the actual date of new posts.


Index to Spiders (Order Araneae)

Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:14 pm

Image Spiders (Order Araneae) - Index

Suborder Mygalomorphae
Family Cyrtaucheniidae (Waferlid Trapdoor Spiders, Front-eyed Trapdoor Spiders)
Family Ctenizidae (Corklid Trapdoor Spiders)
Family Idiopidae (Spurred Trapdoor Spiders)
Idiops sp. Spurred Trapdoor Spider
Family Migidae (Tree Trapdoor Spiders)
Family Microstigmatidae
Family Nemesiidae (Tube Trapdoor Spiders)
Family Barychelidae
Family Theraphosidae (Baboon Spiders)
Brachionopus pretoriae Pretoria Lesser Baboon Spider viewtopic.php?p=266105#p266105
Harpactirella overdijki Overdijk's Lesser Baboon Spider viewtopic.php?p=266107#p266107
Family Hexathelidae
Family Dipluridae (Sheetweb Spiders)

Suborder Araneomorphae

Series Haplogynae
Family Pholcidae
Smeringopus sp. Daddy Long Legs Spider viewtopic.php?p=266111#p266111

Series Entelegynae
Superfamily Eresoidea
Family Hersiliidae (Longspinner Barkspiders)
Hersilia sericea Long Spinnered Bark Spider viewtopic.php?p=266114#p266114
Family Eresidae (Velvet Spiders)
Stegodyphus dumicola Community Nest Spider viewtopic.php?p=266117#p266117
Other Entelegynes
Family Miturgidae (Blackface Sacspiders)

Orbiculariae (Orb-weaving Spiders)
Superfamily Araneoidea
Family Araneidae (Common Orb Weavers)
Argiope australis Common Garden Orb Web Spider viewtopic.php?p=266122#p266122
Argiope trifasciata Banded Orb Spider viewtopic.php?f=247&t=3235&start=20#p266123
Gasteracantha versicolor Medium-wing Kite Spider viewtopic.php?p=266124#p266124
Neoscona rufipalpis Green Hairy Field Spider viewtopic.php?p=266126#p266126
Neoscona subfusca Common Hairy Field Spider viewtopic.php?p=266127#p266127
Pararaneus cyrtoscapus Spiky Field Spider viewtopic.php?p=266129#p266129

Family Nephilidae (Golden Orbweb Spiders)
Nephila fenestrata Black-legged Nephila viewtopic.php?p=266134#p266134
Nephila inaurata madagascariensis Red-legged Nephila viewtopic.php?p=266135#p266135
Nephila senegalensis annulata Banded-legged Golden Orb-web Spider viewtopic.php?p=266136#p266136
Nephilengys cruentata Hermit Spider viewtopic.php?p=266138#p266138

Family Tetragnathidae (Silver Vleispiders)
Leucauge sp. Silver Marsh Spider, Silver Vlei Spider viewtopic.php?p=266141#p266141

Family Theridiidae (Combfoot Spiders)
Latrodectus geometricus Brown Button Spider, Brown Widow, Geometric Button Spider viewtopic.php?p=266143#p266143
Steatoda False Button Spider viewtopic.php?p=266144#p266144

Section Dionycha
Superfamily Gnaphosoidea
Gnaphosidae (Flatbelly Ground Spiders)
Micaria sp. Ant-Mimicking Ground Spider viewtopic.php?p=266147#p266147]

Family Salticidae (Jumping Spiders)
Heliophanus sp. Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266222#p266222
Hyllus brevitarsis Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266225#p266225
Myrmarachne natalica Ant-mimicking Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266236#p266236
Nigorella hirsuta Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266240#p266240
Thyene inflata Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266243#p266243
Thyene natalii Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266244#p266244
Thyene ogdeni Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266246#p266246
Thyene sp. Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266247#p266247
Thyene sp. Jumping Spider viewtopic.php?p=266249#p266249
Jumping Spider sp. viewtopic.php?p=266251#p266251
Jumping Spider sp. viewtopic.php?p=266253#p266253
Jumping Spider sp. viewtopic.php?p=266255#p266255
Jumping Spider sp. viewtopic.php?p=266256#p266256
Jumping Spider sp. viewtopic.php?p=266257#p266257

Family Thomisidae (Crab Spiders)
Diaea sp. Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266264#p266264
Misumenops rubrodecoratus Red Back Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266267#p266267
Oxytate argenteooculata Grass Crab Spider, Green Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266270#p266270
Synema sp. African Mask Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266275#p266275
Thomisus daradiodides Flower Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266277#p266277
Thomisus scrupeus Flower Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266279#p266279
Thomisus stenningi Flower Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266280#p266280
Thomisus sp. Flower Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266281#p266281
Thomisus sp. Flower Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266283#p266283
Thomisus sp. Flower Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266284#p266284

Family Sparassidae (Large Huntsman Spiders)
Olios sp. Huntsman Spider viewtopic.php?p=266292#p266292
Palystes superciliosus Common Rain Spider viewtopic.php?p=266294#p266294
Palystes sp. Huntsman Spider viewtopic.php?p=266295#p266295

Family Selenopidae (Flat Wallspiders, Wall Crab Spiders)
Anyphops sp. Wall Crab Spider viewtopic.php?p=266297#p266297
Unidentified Wall Crab Spider viewtopic.php?f=247&t=3235&start=90#p277339

Superfamily Lycosoidea (Wolf Spiders, Lynx Spiders, etc.)
Family Pisauridae (Nurseryweb Spiders)
Rothus purpurissatus Crowned Pisaurid viewtopic.php?p=266299#p266299

Family Lycosidae (Wolf Spiders)
Wolf Spider viewtopic.php?p=266304#p266304
Wolf Spider viewtopic.php?p=266306#p266306
Wolf Spider viewtopic.php?p=266307#p266307

Family Oxyopidae (Lynx Spiders)
Oxyopes sp. Grass Lynx Spider viewtopic.php?p=266315#p266315


Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:13 am


Suborder Mygalomorphae

Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:40 pm

Suborder Mygalomorphae

The Mygalomorphae is a suborder that includes some of the largest and most fascinating spiders: the Baboon and Trapdoor Spiders. Among the arachnids they are regarded as more primitive than most. They are long-lived animals that are able to survive for up to 20 years in captivity. They are heavy bodied, stout legged spiders; they have two pairs of book lungs, and downward pointing chelicerae (chelicerae/fang action paraxial - forward and downwards). Their chelicerae and fangs are large and powerful, and have ample venom glands that lie entirely within their chelicerae. They have unsegmented abdomens and usually four spinnerets (lacking anterior median spinnerets). Almost all species of Mygalomorphae have eight eyes.
Most mygalomorph families are terrestrial and live in silk-lined retreats, either in burrows of various shapes made in the soil or in sac-like chambers made under rocks or on tree trunks. The entrances to these retreats are either open or closed with a trapdoor made out of silk and soil particles.
Most species are nocturnal and hide during the day in the retreats. At night they wait at the entrance for passing prey or they wander around in search of food. They prey on a variety of insects and small animals and form an important part of the ecological food web.

Currently, 15 families of mygalomorph spiders are recognized worldwide, 11 of which are found in the Afrotropical Region and 10 in Southern Africa.
Atypidae 1 genus, 1 species
Barychelidae 3 genera, 5 species
Ctenizidae 1 genus, 40 species
Cyrtaucheniidae 2 genera, 37 species
Dipluridae 2 genera, 5 species
Idiopidae 6 genera, 65 species
Microstigmatidae 1 genus, 6 species
Migidae 2 genera, 26 species
Nemesiidae 5 genera, 49 species
Theraphosidae 5 genera, 47 species

Mygalomorphae, Ctenizidae (Cork-lid Trapdpoor Spiders)

Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:42 pm

Family Ctenizidae (Cork-lid Trapdpoor Spiders)
Trapdoor spiders (superfamily Ctenizoidea, family Ctenizidae) are medium-sized mygalomorph spiders that construct burrows with a cork-like trapdoor made of soil, vegetation and silk. Unlike other mygalomorph spiders, the Ctenizidae have a rastellum on the chelicera. Resembling "teeth" or "barbs" on each fang, this modification is used to dig and gather soil while constructing a burrow. They use their pedipalps and first legs to hold the trapdoor closed when disturbed. Females rarely leave their burrows, but males may be found wandering in search of prey.
The family Ctenizidae inhabits most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the world and is represented by one genus and 45 species from South Africa of which 40 are endemics.

The genus Stasimopus is extremely conservative morphologically. Females and juveniles are stocky in appearance, with large bodies and short legs, adapted for spending their entire life within their tubular burrow. On reaching sexual maturity, males become more gracile, developing long, slender legs adapted for walking long distances in search of sexually receptive females. Morphological differences among Stasimopus species are often subtle, particularly in females. Species diagnosis is based primarily on ocular characters of both sexes, the presence and extent of patches of spinules on the dorsal surfaces of the pedipalps and first pair of legs in females, and the length of the pedipalps and spination of the first two pairs of legs in males.

Life style
Wanderers (ground dwellers); make a burrow that is closed with a cork-lid trapdoor.

Body size
15-43 mm (males smaller and more slender).

Diagnostic characters
Colour: varies from brown to reddish and black with legs yellowish brown or reddish brown, abdomen usually a pallid duller colour.
Carapace: domed and smooth without setae with the fovea procurved.
Eyes: 8 in 2 rows (4:4), anterior row usually procurved.
Abdomen: oval and covered with a thin layer of short setae.
Legs: short, strong and thickly spined and tibiae III cylindrical without dorsal saddle-shaped depression, distal segments of legs I and II with lateral bands of short thorn-like spines in the female.

Web and retreat
Web: absent.
Retreat: silklined burrows of various shapes and depths that are closed off from the outside with well fitting, hinged trapdoors of variable thickness.

Usually found in open areas in Grassland, Savanna, Nama-Karoo and Succulent-Karoo biomes.

The genus Stasimopus is known only from South Africa and Lesotho. It has been recorded in all provinces of South Africa except Limpopo. Given the known distribution, this genus will probably also be recorded in Botswana, Namibia, and Swaziland in the future.

They are burrowing spiders and use their rastellums to dig tube-like burrows of various shapes and depths (14-20 cm deep). The burrow is lined with a layer of felt-like silk. They close the burrows off from the outside with well fitting, hinged trapdoors of variable thickness. The trapdoor is made of soil, often clay, modeled into shape and reinforced with silk. It resembles a cork of a bottle, hence the common name. The lid is attached to the entrance rim of the burrow by a tough silk hinge. The outside of the trapdoor is usually very well camouflaged, as it is made of the same soil as the surrounding area. The lid is provided with a circle of small pits on the inside to provide the spider with a place to grip. When disturbed the spider pulls the lid close and holds it down with the strong setae on the front legs. The trapdoor is used as a protection- prey-detection system. Usually during the day, while resting in the bottom of the burrow the lids are kept close. It is also kept close during harsh weather, moulting and egg laying. Most of the trapdoor spiders are nocturnal and they open the trapdoor slightly waiting for prey to passes close to the burrow. The spider then rushes out, grabs the prey and returns to the burrow.

Links: Atlas of the Spiders of South Africa; Cryptic diversity of South African trapdoor spiders: Three new species of Stasimopus Simon, 1892 (Mygalomorphae, Ctenizidae), and redescription of Stasimopus robertsi Hewitt, 1910. Ian Engelbrecht and Lorenzo Prendini

Mygalomorphae, Idiopidae (Spurred Trapdoor Spiders)

Sun Apr 19, 2015 1:40 pm

Family Idiopidae (Spurred Trapdoor Spiders)
The Idiopidae are known from India, Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America, Madagascar and Africa. The family contains 19 genera and about 200 species in three subfamilies, the Arbanitinae, Genysinae and Idiopinae. The last two subfamilies are known from the Afrotropical Region where they are represented by eight genera and 96 species. From Southern Africa, only the subfamily Idiopinae is known, represented by six genera (Ctenolophus, Galeosoma, Gorgyrella, Heligmomerus, Idiops, Segregara) and 65 species.

Idiopids are medium-sized to large spiders with the following synapomorphies:
- distal sclerite of male palp open along one side with second haematodocha extending almost to tip of embolus
- cymbium of male palp with one lobe rounded, other acutely pointed
- palpal tibia of males swollen and usually with an excavation prolaterally, bearing short, thorn-like spines usually arranged in a half-circle

Life style
Trapdoor spiders, closing their burrows with different types of lids.

Body size
Medium-sized to very large (8-33 mm).

Diagnostic characters
Colour: various shades of brown, yellow, red, olive or purplish.
Carapace: glabrous in females and usually granulate in males; cephalic region arched; fovea broad andprocurved.
Sternum: four or six sigilla; posterior sigilla either absent or present; labiosternal groove shallow.
Eyes: eight; position varies between subfamilies; anterior lateral eyes close together on or near clypeal edge in Idiopinae; arrangement of other eyes varies between
Chelicerae: rastellum on distinct mound cheliceral furrow usually with strong cheliceral teeth on inner row with fewer and sometimes smaller teeth or denticles on outer row.
Mouthparts: anterior lobe of endites small; serrula absent. : labium usually wider than long , with few cuspules or none (cuspules present in females, absent in males); endites rectangular, anterior lobe small; serrula absent.
Abdomen: oval, except in Galeosoma in which the apical part is domed, covered by a shield in females.
Legs: three claws; front legs of females with setae (Idiopinae); front legs of females with strong rows of setae arranged on lateral edge of tarsi, metatarsi and sometimes tibia; coxae of legs with patches of dense spinules or stiff setae in some genera; patellae III and IV dorsally with rows of spinules in some genera; female with teeth on paired claws, similar in size or number; male with one row of a few long teeth on paired claws; male usually with scopulae on tarsi I–IV; male with one row (Idiopinae) or S-shaped (Genysinae) of teeth; paired mating spurs on tibia (Genysinae).
Spinnerets: four; posterior spinnerets with apical segment domed.
Genitalia: male palp with distal sclerite open along one side so that second haematodocha extends down bulb almost to tip of embolus; cymbium with one lobe rounded, other lobe acutely pointed; palpal tibiae with short, thorn-like spines.

Idiopids are trapdoor spiders that cover their burrows with a wafer-type or a corktype lid. The females live permanently in silk-lined burrows while adult males usually wander around in search of a mate.

Subfamily Idiopinae (Front-eyed Trapdoor Spiders)
Diagnostic characters
Carapace glabrous in females and granulate in males, with cephalic region arched and fovea strongly procurved; anterior lateral eyes set far in front of other eyes close to clypeal edge; labium wider than long with few cuspules, cuspules absent in males; rastellum consisting of a distinct process with strong setae; posterior pair of sigilla absent (except in Segregara and Gorgyrella); distal segments of front legs with numerous lateral spines; scopulae absent from tarsi of female but usually present on all tarsi of male; tibia I of male with a single, distal spur with two apophyses distally; palpal tibia of males with an excavation prolaterally, bearing short, thorn-like spines usually arranged in a half-circle.

Members of the Idiopinae close their burrows with a trapdoor hinged at one side with silk. The thickness of the lids varies from wafer-thin to thick and cork-like in appearance. The spiders are nocturnal and sit at the entrance of the burrows with the door slightly open, waiting for prey to pass by. If disturbed, the spider retreats into the burrow, closing the door tightly behind it. During the day they are usually found at the bottom of the burrow. Idiopines are more or less gregarious and several individuals are usually found in the same area, often making their burrows in open grassland.
The males do not live permanently in burrows, but move around in search of females.

Links: Atlas of the Spiders of South Africa (Page 379)

Re: AW Arachnid Book: Spiders (Araneae) - Photos & Descripti

Sun Apr 19, 2015 2:42 pm


Mygalomorphae, Theraphosidae (Baboon Spiders)

Sun Apr 19, 2015 2:45 pm

Theraphosidae (Baboon Spiders)

The family Theraphosidae is a large family represented by 86 genera and about 612 species with a pantropical distribution. It includes the group of spiders known as Baboon Spiders in Africa and Tarantulas in the Americas. African species are called Baboon Spiders due to their hairy appearance and the black scopulae pads on its "feet" resembling the pads on baboon feet. From South Africa eight genera and 44 species are known of which 35 are endemic to the
The most dramatic feature of these spiders is the black fangs that can exceed 6 mm in length and are parallel to each other (paraxial). The fangs are set into the jaws (chelicerae) that project forward (porrect). These spiders are black and hairy underneath (ventrally) except in the region of the fangs where the hair colour rnages from orange to a pink/red tinge. During an attack, the forelegs are raised in aggression, exposing the fangs and the orange and black colouration. Dorsally the colouration varies enormously ranging from black, various shades of brown and shades of copper and cinnamon. The abdomen can be plain or marked with spots or chevrons.

Life style
Wanderers (ground dwellers): live in terrestrial silk-lined burrows or retreats made under rocks.

Body size
Medium-sized to very large. Theraphosids are large, bulky and hairy with a body length of 13-90 mm long with the average spider measuring 20-50 mm.

Diagnostic characters
Colour: various hues of brown, from pale to dark; abdomen with variegated pattern.
Carapace: clypeus wide; the anterior (front) edge of the carapace is called the clypeus and if there is no clypeus, one can be assured that the spider is not a theraphosid but another family instead (either Barychelidae, Cyrtauchenidae or Nemesiidae). Fovea short, varies from straight to procurved, or provided with a distinct horn-like process or depression in Ceratogyrus; hirsute; chelicerae outer face of chelicerae hirsute, or with dense scopulae and/or stridulating organs in Harpactirinae (except Harpactirella and Brachionopus); rastellum absent or weak; mouthparts anterior lobe of endites well developed into conical process; labium and endites with dense cuspules; sternum with moderately small, oval, marginal to subcentral posterior sigilla.
Eyes: eight; in two rows arranged on the carapace on a central tubercle set back slightly from the anterior (front) edge of the carapace.
Abdomen: : oval; hirsute; apical segment of posterior spinnerets long and digitiform; respiratory system four booklings.
Legs: two claws with tarsal scopulae and claw tufts; reduced spination on legs III-IV; paired tarsal claws, each with only one row of teeth; clavate trichobothria along length of tarsi. They have robust non-tapering legs and the pads or scopulae setae under the "feet" allow them to walk up the smoothest of surfaces - even glass.
In other spider families, the males are easily recognised by the expanded ends of the palps where the sperm-carrying organ, the embolus, is situated. The expanded palp ends are not that noticeable in male theraphosids but males can also be recognised by the less bulky abdomen and by a tibial spur situated ventrally on the distal aspect of the tibia of the first pair of legs. The spur is not obvious as it is concealed amongst long hairs (setae) and rather resembles a pointed brush. The spur is used to restrain the females' fangs during copulation.

Web and retreat
Web: absent. Retreat: All South African species are terrestrial occurring in underground burrows or scrapes under rocks. The scrape is lined with thick silk, which is attached to the rock and keeps out troublesome insects such as ants. At night, the burrow dwellers can be seen with their front legs and eyes showing at the entrance of their burrows as they wait for unsuspecting prey.
Females usually stay close to their retreat while the males, once mature, roam freely looking for a mate.

More commonly found in the Grassland and Savanna Biomes, Nama-Karoo and the Kalahari desert.

Theraphosids are free-living spiders inhabiting terrestrial, silk-lined burrows, arboreal retreats or retreats made under rocks or in holes under bark or under epiphytes Nemesiids live in silk-lined burrows that vary in shape. Some species close their burrows with lids. The entrance is left open with some of the silk lining extending past the entrance to form a rim that sometimes incorporates pieces of plant material that may help with prey detection. In arid regions their burrows are usually deep, and provide them with protection from high temperatures. These spiders usually rest during the day in the deepest part of the burrow. They are predominantly sit-and-wait hunters and at night they wait for prey to approach, sitting in the entrance of the burrow or on the soil surface close to the burrow.
Prey remains and exuviae are stored mostly at the bottom of the burrow. Baboon spiders do not have rastellums and they seem to be opportunistic burrowers, extending other animal holes e.g. ants, moles and lizards. The eggs are deposited in an egg cocoon constructed at the bottom of the burrow. The juvenile spiders will remain with the female for some time before they disperse.
Prey consists of a variety of small invertebrates such as beetles, cockroaches, grasshoppers, millipedes, other spiders.

The female lays 30 to 180 eggs but very few survive the 7 to 10 year maturity period. Unlike the true spiders, the araneomorphs, the mygalomorph females continue to moult after reaching maturity and can live for about 25 years. The males live for only about 6 months after maturity and therefore it is of no consequence should the females consume them.

They are not dangerous to man although they can inflict a painful bite. They are all mildly venemous, the venom being neurotoxic.

Genera native to southern Africa:
Ceratogyrus, the horned baboon spider, is distributed across the northern parts of South Africa and its bordering countries.
Harpactira the common baboon spider, occurs over the whole of South Africa and bordering countries.
Pterinochilus, the golden-brown baboon spider occurs from north-eastern South Africa northwards to Ethiopia.
There are two lesser baboon spiders, Brachionopus, which is rare and is restricted to the eastern parts of South Africa and Harpactirella that occurs in the southern parts of South Africa.

Links: Biodiversity Explorer; Atlas of the Spiders of South Africa; The baboon spiders of South Africa, by Dr Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman

Theraphosidae, Brachionopus (Lesser Baboon Spiders)

Sun Apr 19, 2015 2:49 pm

Genus Brachionopus (Lesser Baboon Spiders)

Diagnostic characters
Chelicerae without plumose pad on outside; clypeus equal to half the length of eye tubercle; cuspules on labium sometimes reduced or absent; legs short and robust; scopulae not broader than segment; scopulae on tarsus I entire, tarsi II–IV divided by setae; male lacks tibial spur; scopulae on metatarsi III and IV not very dense, extending to middle of segment; basal segment of posterior spinnerets as long as other two segments; colour varies from golden-brown to greenish black, abdomen mottled or decorated with a median line and chevrons; body size 13.5–21.5 mm.
Brachionopus resembles Harpactirella very closely but differs in the absence of a tibial mating spur in the male.

Brachionopus species are frequently found in tubular, silk-lined burrows made under rocks or logs, sometimes with light webbing at the entrance. The males wander around.

Brachionopus is an Afrotropical genus known only from the southeastern regions of South Africa where it is represented by five species.

Re: AW Arachnid Book: Spiders (Araneae) - Photos & Descripti

Sun Apr 19, 2015 2:51 pm

Babbon Spider, possibly Pretoria Lesser Baboon Spider Brachionopus pretoriae
Suborder Mygalomorphae. Family Theraphosidae. Subfamily Harpactirinae

Image © BluTuna

Image © BluTuna
Kruger National Park, Balule camp

Endemic to South Africa, reported from Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.