Tetragnatha spiders are poisonous

Nature in the Ruhr Area: Arachnids - Part 1

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Attention, there is a revised version of this page, which you can find here.

Canopy spiders (Sheet Weavers, Linyphiidae)

There are around 4,300 species of the canopy spider family all over the world, there are around 570 genera. Around 500 species from this family are native to Central Europe. Most canopy spiders are quite small. It is typical for them that they often build their nests close to the ground. The fine webs form slightly curved canopies in the vegetation. The following species from this family are presented in this chapter:

Gray forest canopy spider (Drapetisca socialis)
· Linyphia triangularis (Money Spider)

Gray forest canopy spider (Drapetisca socialis)

Forests are the preferred habitat of the gray forest canopy spider. Your body is 3.5 to four millimeters long. The front body is yellowish brown in color and has a brown to dark brown pattern; in some individuals it can be black. The drawing of the abdomen is quite variable. In many gray forest canopy spiders it is colored whitish in the front area and has a dark gray pattern in the rear area. The legs are colored yellow-brown, they are also ringed dark brown. In addition to forests, this species of spider is also found in bushes and hedges, as well as in small woody trees. The animals usually stay on tree trunks. There it also catches its prey, it eats various insects as well as other smaller spiders. Photo: October 18, 2014, Bochum-Riemke

Linyphia triangularis (Money Spider)

This species belonging to the canopy spiders has no German name of its own, as far as I know. The animals reach a body length of five to seven millimeters and are easy to recognize by their striking color. The body has a brownish basic color and a characteristic white pattern can be seen on the abdomen. A thin white stripe runs in the middle. Usually these spiders build their web very low above the ground. The animals can be observed from summer to October, especially in September is the mating season of this species.

  Photo: 07/13/2007
  Photo: 09.09.2013

Long-jawed orb-weavers, Tetragnathidae

There are around 950 species of the thick-jawed spider family worldwide. There are 51 genera within the family. The following species from this family are presented in this chapter:

Common extensor spider (Longjawed Orb-weaver, Tetragnatha extensa)
Autumn spider (Common Orb-weaver, Metellina segmentata)

Common extensor spider (Longjawed orb-weaver, Tetragnatha extensa)

One of the most widespread spider species in Europe is the common extensor spider. As habitats, it prefers meadows and tall herbaceous meadows, which are mostly close to water. Females have a body length of ten to twelve millimeters, males are slightly smaller with their body length of six to nine millimeters. The back of the body is elongated and quite slender in this species. Often the basic color is yellowish to greenish, many animals have a line drawing with an indicated center line. Occasionally this line drawing can be very weak, so that the pattern looks like a network. The legs and the front part of the body are colored brown; this also applies to the underside of the abdomen. The common extensor spider builds small web nets close to the ground. Most of the time, however, the animals remain stretched out on the underside of leaves, stems or blades of grass. They position their bodies so that some legs point forward and some backward. Adult individuals of this species can be found in the wild from May to September. Photo: May 3rd, 2014, Bochum-Riemke

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Autumn spider (common orb-weaver, Metellina segmentata)

Female autumn spiders can reach a body length of 6.5 to nine millimeters. The males are slightly smaller, they are only six to 7.5 millimeters long. The front part of the body is yellowish to light brown in color, the eye hillocks are clearly visible and there is a black longitudinal drawing in the form of a "Y". The abdomen of this species of spider is elongated and tapering towards the rear oval. It is variable in color, its tint can turn out from yellowish to brownish to greenish. Reddish-brown colored abdomen are also possible in this species. In addition, there is a diffuse drawing on this rear part of the body. A very similar species occurs in Europe, which can only be identified by genital examination of Metellina segmentata can be distinguished: Metellina mengei. But the latter is very rare, which is why the animal shown here is most likely M. segmentata is. The autumn spider is native to all open and semi-open habitats, for example in parks, gardens or on the edges of forests and in hedges. Because the animals can be seen between August and October, they got their German name. Photo: 09/16/2007, Essen city forest

  Female, photo: 15.09.2013,
  Female, photo: 29.09.2013,

Orb-weaver spiders (Araneidae)

The world's third largest family of spiders is that of the real orb web spiders. There are over 2,800 species in 160 genera. In Germany there are some representatives of these fascinating spiders. The following species from this spider family are presented in this chapter:

Oak leaf wheel spider (Oak Spider, Aculepeira ceropegia)
Garden spider (European Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus)
Cone spider (Cyclosa conica)
Cup spider (Gorse Orb-weaver, Agalenatea redii)
Pumpkin Spider (Cucumber Green Spider, Araniella sp.)
Reed spider (Orb-weaver spider, Larinioides cornutus)
Fissure cross spider (Walnut Orb-weaver Spider, Nuctenea umbratica)
Vierfleckkreuzspinne (Four-spot Orb-weaver, Araneus quadratus)
Wasp spider (Wasp Spider, Argiope bruennichi)

Oak leaf wheel spider (Oak Spider, Aculepeira ceropegia)

Female oak leaf wheel spiders reach a body length of twelve to 14 millimeters, the males of this species are seven to eight millimeters long. The front part of the body (prosoma) is monochrome brown, the abdomen (opisthosoma) is yellowish-brown. On this basic color there is a dark net pattern and a white "leaf drawing" in the middle of the back. The rear part of the body is quite high and elongated in this species of spider. The thighs are monochrome light brown, the leg areas underneath are ringed light and dark. In addition, the legs are hairy. The oak leaf wheel spider is native to different habitats. It occurs on fallow land, on dry grassland, wet meadows and forest clearings. Adult spiders can be seen in summer. Photo: Weibchen, May 3, 2014, Bochum-Riemke

Garden spider (European Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus)

A common species is the garden spider. It is predominantly brownish in color and has a light, cross-shaped area on its back, which contributed to the name. Females of this species can reach a body length (excluding legs) of up to 18 millimeters, with the males the body is only about ten millimeters long. Because the spider species is not very specialized, it can be found in many places, from human settlements and gardens to forests and hedgerows.

  Female, photo: 08/10/2007,
  Female, photo: 08/29/2008,

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Cone spider (Cyclosa conica)

The cone spider is by no means rare, but because it is quite small and mostly builds its webs in low places, it is often overlooked. Males are only four to four and a half millimeters long, females reach a body length of six to seven millimeters. The front body is black in the females. The rear part of the body has an upward, elongated cone-shaped outgrowth. With regard to the coloration, the back of the body is very variable and it can be light to dark and more or less strongly patterned. The front body of the males is also black. Your back body area has only a small extension and is usually brownish in color. Cone spiders can usually be found in coniferous forests with relatively young trees. They also inhabit the edges of sunny forest paths. These spiders build their webs on low branches. The cone spider has been named Spider of the Year 2016. Photo: Männchen, 09/30/2014, Bochum-Querenburg

Basket spider (Gorse orb-weaver, Agalenatea redii)

Female cup spiders reach a body size of seven to eight millimeters, males are only 3.5 to 5.5 millimeters in size. The front body of this species is light beige-brown and it is also very hairy. This also applies to the back of the body. It is a little wider than it is long. In most individuals, the basic color is yellowish brown, on which there is a variable pattern of light and dark bands and spots. Some individuals have a dark brown rear body with two white spots in the front area. Often there is a dark central band on the abdomen. The legs are ringed light and dark, but this pattern is usually less contrasting than that of other spider species. Cup spiders have bristly hair on their legs. These animals can be found in open, warm landscapes, for example dry sand or semi-arid grasslands. These spiders can be observed in summer and autumn. Photo: May 22nd, 2015, Bochum-Riemke

Pumpkin Spider (Cucumber Green Spider, Araniella sp.)

Pumpkin spiders have a conspicuously light green abdomen, the rest of the body and legs are greenish-brown in color. In addition, the animals have long spines on their legs. Females are about six millimeters long, males up to four millimeters. Pumpkin spiders are widespread in Germany. They can be found on the edges of forests, in coniferous forests, in bushes and hedges as well as on meadows, fallow land, in swamps and moors. Due to their green abdomen, these orb-web spiders are quite well camouflaged. The species native to us, including among others Araniella cucurbitina heard, can only be distinguished from other species of its genus by means of a microscopic examination of the reproductive organs. Therefore, the animals shown here cannot be named at the species level because such an investigation has not been carried out.

  Male, photo: 07.06.2014,
  Female, photo: 09.06.2014,

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Reed spider (Orb-weaver spider, Larinioides cornutus)

In Germany, the reed spider is a widespread and quite common species. There are some similar species with which they can hardly be confused in this country, because they are either not native to Germany or can be found in other habitats. The reed spider can usually be found near bodies of water. Females are up to 13 millimeters long, males only measure a maximum of eight millimeters. In terms of their body color and pattern, reed spiders are variable. The color palette ranges from black and white to yellowish brown and gray and pink. Typical of the species is a dark brown wedge spot on the front part of the body. The legs are patterned light and dark and the animals have bristly hair there. An alternative name for this species of spider is the reed orb web spider. Photo: Weibchen, 08/01/2014, Hattingen

Fissure cross spider (Walnut orb-weaver spider, Nuctenea umbratica)

Male crevasse spiders are about seven to ten millimeters long, females are 13 to 16 millimeters in size. In this species of spider, the front body (prosoma) is dark brown in color, the front area is lightened reddish brown. In addition, the front body is densely hairy. The back of the body (opisthosoma) is variable in color. It can be red-brown to black-brown and it has a yellowish to yellowish-green bordered, leaf-shaped pattern. There are paired indentations on the top of the back of the body. In this species of spider, the thighs are colored dark brown, only the outer limbs of the legs have a light and dark brown colored striped pattern. Crevice cross spiders can be found mainly in light deciduous and mixed forests, but sometimes also in parks and gardens. They often build their nets on old trees and buildings. The network diameter can be 45 to 70 centimeters. Crevice spiders are nocturnal and they usually hide during the day. These spiders can be seen in nature from July to October. In particularly warm years, however, they can be found outside much earlier.Photo: Weibchen, April 13, 2014, Bochum-Querenburg

Striped spider (Cricket bat orb-weaver, Mangora acalypha)

Female striped spiders reach a body size of 5.5 to six millimeters, the males are only three to 3.5 millimeters long. In both sexes, the front body is monochrome yellowish or greenish-brown; this part of the body is quite light. There is a black line in the middle of the front body, and this part of the body is bordered with black. On the upper side, the abdomen is yellowish-white in color, an irregular black central line runs on it and in the rear area there are three parallel black lines. In addition, a brown mesh pattern extends over the abdomen. The legs are hairy. Striped cross spiders are native to Germany in open, warm areas with a lot of grass, for example on dry grass. They can be seen during spring and summer. Photo: Weibchen, 01.06.2014, Bochum-Querenburg

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Vierfleckkreuzspinne (Four-spot orb-weaver, Araneus quadratus)

The four-spotted cross spiders are fascinatingly beautiful animals. They are colored quite variably. They are somewhat larger and more powerfully built than the garden spiders known to many people and, unlike them, rarely stay in the middle of their webs. Males reach a body length of seven to ten millimeters, females can grow up to 18 millimeters. The front part of the body is usually light beige-brown in color and there is a dark-colored band on the back. In addition, the spiders have long, white-gray hair on this part of their body. The rear part of the body is large and round, and it is often brightly colored. It can have yellowish to greenish, but also brownish or cream-colored shades. Animals with a dark abdomen are also found.A central band indicated by white spots is typical of the species, and the animals also have a few small white spots and four large ones. Their legs are usually brightly dark colored. Damp tall herbaceous vegetation, forest edges, dry grass and clearings are typical places where you can see these spiders. Adult animals can be found in nature between July and October. Photo: Weibchen, 07/27/2014, Bochum-Riemke

Wasp Spider (Wasp Spider, Argiope bruennichi)

The wasp spider is a member of the orb web spider family, named for the shape of their webs. Male wasp spiders grow an inconspicuous six millimeters in length, while the females, on the other hand, reach a stately body size of 25 millimeters and more. Its yellow, white and black striped, thick abdomen is visible from afar, which signals that the spider species is poisonous. However, they can hardly be dangerous to humans because their poisonous claws are too short to pierce human skin. A wasp spider could only inject its venom in small children and on parts of the body with very thin skin. Because these conspicuous spiders mainly feed on grasshoppers and grasshoppers, they are found in meadows with half-height to high vegetation, which also have open areas and are home to many prey of the wasp spider. Young spiders can be observed from May, adults from July to August; Females can even be found until October. Alternatively, this type of spider is also known as the tiger spider, silk ribbon spider or zebra spider. Photo: adult female, 08/13/2007, Essen-Schönebeck

  Adult female, photo: 08/13/2007,
  Adult female, photo: 08/13/2007,

  Juvenile female, photo: 29.06.2015,
  Egg cocoon, photo: 08/30/2015,


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