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

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:22 pm

Wall Crab Spider Anyphops sp.
Family Selenopidae

Image © BluTuna
Nylsvley Nature Reserve

Anyphops occurs from Cape Town to Somaliland in north Africa and Madagascar with 56 species in South Africa.
In Anyphops the four median eyes form a recurved row.

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

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:22 pm

Wall Crab Spider
Family Selenopidae

Image © BluTuna
Kruger National Park

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

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:22 pm

Wall Crab Spider
Family Selenopidae

Image © Mel
Matyholweni Camp, Addo Elephant National Park

Pisauridae (Nurseryweb Spiders)

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:26 pm

Family Pisauridae (Nurseryweb Spiders)

The Pisauridae is a large cosmopolitan family of spiders represented in South Africa by 12 genera and 36 species of which 8 are endemic species.

Life style
The family has diverse life-styles and have reverted from web-building to free-living wanderers.

Body size
8-30 mm (males more slender).

Diagnostic characters
They are all three clawed spiders.
Colour: cryptic with carapace frequently decorated with white longitudinal bands or symmetrical patterns of black on brown or grey on black.The integument is normally coloured in various shades of brown with lateral creamish bands on the carapace that may extend along the abdomen. On some, the abdomen may be marked with spots or have a folium (leaf-like marking). Others may have a lightish (brown, grey or cream) median band running dorsally along both its carapace and abdomen.
Carapace: longer than wide with blunt tubercles on the anterolateral edge of clypeus in some genera.
Eyes: 8 arranged in 2 rows (4:4), 3 rows (4.2.2) or 4 rows (2.2.2.2) with at least one pair of eyes on shallow tubercles, some genera with cluster of setae between anterior eyes.
Abdomen: elongated, tapering towards back; legs: relatively long, sometimes slightly laterigrade with numerous spines.
Legs: The legs are relatively long and slender with numerous spines and depending on the genus, are held forward and backward or latrigrade.

Web and retreat
Web: absent to diverse type of webs are made varying from large sheet-webs with funnel retreats to sheet webs made on plants or the soil surface; retreat: in web builders the funnel part of web is used as a retreat. In the plant dwellers the leaf is slightly bent downwards and a short tube-like retreat with both ends open, is constructed in the curve of the leave.
The webs of the web bound species have no capture ability and the spiders rely on speed to capture their prey. They are harmless to man.

Habitat
The pisaurids are found in a variety of habitats and are common inhabitants of grassland, savanna, desert and forest areas.

Behaviour
In the web building genera Euprosthenops and Euprosthenopsis the webs consist of large sheets made in the vegetation with a funnel-like retreat leading towards the ground. Other web dwellers like Cispius and Chiasmopes live on plants beneath leaves. The leaf is slightly bent downwards and a short tube-like retreat with both ends open is constructed in the curve of the leave. Rothus spp. are free-living and Perenethis spp. make sheet-like webs in vegetation close to the ground. Thalassius spp. are free-living usually found at edge of fresh water ponds where they prey on fish and small invertebrates.
All pisaurids construct a round white egg case. The pisaurid female usually carries the egg cocoon beneath her sternum held by her chelicerae (jaws) and palpi. This causes them to assume a tiptoe stance. Just before the eggs are due to hatch, the female constructs a nursery web around the egg case. This is attached to the vegetation with a supporting web around it. The spiderlings leave the nursery after one or two moults.
Rothus and Cispius are two terrestrial genera that actively pursue prey, Cispius often using its leaping powers to jump onto its prey. These spiders are typically marked with lateral bands at least on the carapace and have numerous spines on the long legs to aid with prey capture.

Genera indigenous to southern Africa: The family consists of two subfamilies. the Pisaurinae, or nursery web spiders, with 12 genera indigenous to southern Africa, and the Thalassinae, which includes the larger fishing spiders in the genera Dolomedes and Thalassius.
Subfamily: Pisaurinae (nursery web spiders)
Afropisaura
Charminus
Chiasmopes
Cispius
Euprosthenops
Euprosthenopsis
Maypacius
Perenethis
Rothus
Tapinothelella
Tetragonophthalma
Walrencea

Subfamily: Thalassinae (fishing spiders)
Dolomedes
Thalassius


Atlas of the Spiders of South Africa; Biodiversity Explorer

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

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:27 pm

Crowned Pisaurid Rothus purpurissatus
Family Pisauridae

Image

Image

Distribution
The only member of the genus in South Africa, it is widely spread in all areas except the Northern Cape.
Known distribution: Angola, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa.

Habitat
Plant living nursery web spider. Often found at night on vegetation in gardens, often enter houses,

Description
Size: Female 8-10 mm, male 7-8 mm. Carapace has a wide central pale band with a diagnostic tuft of hair between the eyes. Abdomen has symmetrical patterns. Legs are the same colour as the carapace. Colouration very variable.

Lycosidae (Wolf Spiders)

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:34 pm

Family Lycosidae (Wolf Spiders)

The family Lycosidae (wolf spiders) is a large family with a worldwide wide distribution represented by 27 genera and 104 species from South Africa of which 60 secies are endemics. Wolf spiders are widely distributed throughout the region, they are also common inhabitants of city gardens.

Life style
Wanderers (ground dwellers); most lycosids are free-running ground hunters with only a few living in burrows with trapdoors or living in a funnel-web.

Body size
3-30 mm (males slightly smaller with longer legs).

Diagnostic characters
Colour: cryptic, ranging from dull yellowish brown to grey to almost black. The carapace usually has darker lateral bands and a lighter median band running longitudinally and may extend onto the abdomen. The abdomen could also have spots or chevron markings.
Carapace: hairy, longer than wide and narrower and higher in cephalic region with the fovea longitudinal.
Eyes: Lycosids can easily be confused with Zoropsidae and Ctenidae but the eye arrangement separates them. The 8 eyes of the Lycosidae are distinctive, occurring in three rows (4:2:2), all dark in colour, of unequal size. The anterior row includes 4 small eyes in almost a straight row; second row with two large eyes and third row with two eyes of intermediate size, situated on anterolateral surface of carapace, with a slightly backward glance.
Abdomen: oval, covered with dense setae.
Legs: usually strong, of moderate length with 3 claws.

Web and retreat
Webs: absent in most, Anomalomma and Hippasa with typical funnel-webs.
Retreat: wandering spiders found during non-active periods below ground debris. Some species of Lycosa and members of Geolycosa live in silk-lined burrows.

Habitat
Wolf spiders are abundant in grassland, savanna, Nama-Karoo and Succulent-Karoo. They are frequently found in agro-ecosystems and some species are associated with fresh water.

Behaviour
Many species of wolf spiders hunt during the day, but some are nocturnal. When at rest they usually are found under stones or debris on the ground. The Lycosidae are often seen dashing from under the grass trying to escape the lawn mower or doing freestyle in the pool. Contrary to common belief, wolf spiders do not always run down their prey. Recent studies indicated that they tend towards a "sit-and-wait" strategy.
They have good vision and their sense of touch is highly developed. Eyesight plays a particularly important part in their mating activities that include waving of the pedipalps and raising of the front legs as if following a dance routine (much like the Salticidae).
The lycosid female carries her round or oval often cream-coloured egg cocoon attached to the spinnerets. The young spiderlings climb onto the mother's back after emerging from the egg cocoon and are carried around until the second moult.
Research has shown that the Lycosidae are important in agriculture, as they are efficient controlling agents of insect pests. They are harmless to man.
Lycosids are often parasitised by wasps probably because they are free roaming and do not enjoy the protection of a web. The wasps will parasitise them in one of two ways. Depending on the wasp species, the spider will either be stung and immobilized, stocked into a prepared nest, have an egg laid on it and then sealed into the nest. The wasp larva then hatches and consumes its live prey that eventually dies as the larva pupates. Secondly, a female wasp will immobilize the spider and lay the egg directly onto it. The spider continues living a normal life with the wasp larva feeding on it until the spider becomes too weak and dies. This coincides with the maturation of the wasp larva that then pupates later to emerge as the adult wasp.

Prey
A variety of insects and mites found both on the soil or plants. Important predators in agro-ecosystems.

Distribution:

While it is relatively easy to recognise a member of the Lycosidae family, identifying the genus is more difficult although this can often be deduced from the habitat in which it occurs.
Anomalomma and Hippasa are web-bound and occur in funnel webs similar to the Agelenidae. (The two families can be separated as the Agelenidae females do not carry the egg case on the spinnerets neither do they carry their young on their abdomens). Hippasa is a fairly large dark brown spider with 2 rows of white spots on its abdomen.
Geolycosa and Lycosa are referred to as the burrowing wolf spiders. The burrow can be a cork-like trap door or a raised collar constructed with silk and bits of vegetation. Lycosa is large, pale brown with pale brown chelicerae that turn a reddish colour when threatened.
Evippa and Zenonina occur in sandy, semi-arid regions.
Pardosa: The name is derived from the Greek "arctos" meaning "bear". Pardosa often found in lawns and often fall into swimming pools. The absence of scopulae (tufts of hair on its feet) prevent it from climbing the smooth walls and it eventually drowns.
Pirata and Wadicosa are semi-aquatic.
Tricassa occurs on sandy beaches from Namibia to the Cape Peninsula. It is possible that females construct burrows.

Common genera: Allocosa (17 spp.); Arctosa (12 spp.); Evippomma (2 spp.); Geolycosa (8 spp.); Hippasa (6 spp.); [i]Hogna [/i](24 spp.); Lycosa (14 spp.); Pardosa (21 spp.); Pirata (3 spp.); Proevippa (9 spp.); Pseudevippa (2 spp.); Pterartoria (4 spp.); Pterartoriola (4 spp.); Trabea (8 spp.); Zenonina (2 spp.).

Links: Atlas of the Spiders of South Africa; Biodiversity Explorer; Martin R. Filmer: Southern African Spiders: An Identification Guide

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

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:40 pm

Wolf Spider
Family: Lycosidae

Image © BluTuna
Ngewnya Lodge

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

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:41 pm

Wolf Spider
Family Lycosidae

Image © BluTuna
Garden in Johannesburg. Female with egg sac.

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

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:43 pm

Wolf Spider
Family Lycosidae

Image © Flutterby
Johannesburg

Family Oxyopidae (Lynx Spiders)

Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:46 pm

Family Oxyopidae (Lynx Spiders)

The Oxyopidae (Lynx Spiders) is a small family of spiders with a worldwide distribution represented by nine genera.
From South Africa 3 genera represented by 41 species: Oxyopes (Grass lynx spiders); Peucetia (Green lynx spiders); Hamataliwa (Decorated lynx spiders).
Oxyopids are diurnal, arboreal (plant living) spiders usually found on shrubs, grasses and trees, using their excellent vision to pursue and catch prey. Members of this family are easily identified by their extremely long leg spines and by having eight eyes closely grouped in a hexagonal arrangement with a high clypeus.

Life style
Wanderers (plant dwellers): free-running on the plants.

Body size
5-23 mm.

Diagnostic characters
Colour: varies from bright green (Peucetia) to yellowish brown to dark brown in other 2 genera.
Carapace: longer than wide, high and convex anteriorly, sloping posteriorly with the clypeus wide, usually with conspicuous stripes and spots, integument clothed with thin setae and sometimes with iridecent scales. Viewed head-on, the cephalic (head) area is high.
Eyes: 8, occupy small area on edge of carapace in form of a hexagon with posterior row slightly procurved and anterior row strongly recurved; 6 of the 8 eyes arranged in a hexagonal formation with a large clypeus (area below eyes to anterior edge of carapace – [something like a large upper lip]). Hamataliwa frequently with tufts of hair between front eyes.
Abdomen: tapers to a point posteriorly.
Legs: long and slender with prominent spines. 3 clawed.

Web and retreat
Web: absent; retreat: some species rest at night hanging from a dragline attached to the underside of a leaf.

Habitat
The oxyopids are very common on plants. They occur in high numbers on trees and grasses in the grassland, savanna and Nama-Karoo biomes. They are also commonly found in agro-ecosystems. Also found on walls of buildings.
Some Peucetia species are generally found on glandular plants and sometimes they are limited to a single plant species. Hamataliwa and Oxyopes are frequently cream, yellow to brown and found on foliage as well as grass. Some Oxyopes species have long setae on their legs assisting them to blend in with spiky grasses.

Behaviour
The oxyopids are known as lynx spiders because of the way in which they hunt their prey. They are diurnal or nocturnal hunters with good vision, which enables them to detect prey. They move around on plants leaping from leaf to leaf. They catch prey with their legs and often do so by jumping a few centimeters or more into the air to seize a passing insect in full flight; others execute short jumps in pursuit of prey over the plants. Observations also indicate that they will stretch themselves out on the surface of a leaf to drop on moths and wasps flying beneath the leaf. The egg cocoon are not carried about but fastened to a twig or leaf, or suspended in a small irregular web. The eggs are guarded and defended by the female.

Atlas of the Spiders of South Africa; Biodiversity Explorer; Martin R. Filmer: Southern African Spiders: An Identification Guide