We have all seen spiders, and whilst some of us are admiring of them and fascinated by them, others hate and fear them. Spiders are all around us, in most habitats, including woodland, hedgerows, farmland, grassland, gardens, outbuildings, and of course in our very homes, where most people encounter them. Some spiders, like the orb-web spiders, build intricately shaped webs to catch their prey, others, like the crab spiders, stay still and wait patiently for prey to come within grasping reach, whilst others, such as wolf spiders and jumping spiders, are fearsome hunters that relentlessly stalk their prey.

There are around 670 species of spider in Britain, 3,000 in Europe, and 48,000 that have so far been discovered so far, and all of them play an important roll in a balanced ecosystem. Whether they help keep numbers of pest species down of other invertebrates like flies, mites and lice by eating them, or whether they are eaten themselves by birds or small mammals, they play a very important role in keeping a healthy environment.

There is a lot of false information and a ‘mythology’ within media circles and society as a whole regarding these eight-legged creatures which really don’t help their reputation, and most often they are presumed guilty from the outset, judged so and are squished by a rolled up newspaper or a tightly gripped slipper. The vast majority of spiders produce venom which they use to inject poison to paralyse and kill their prey, yet there are very few British species that can actually bite and penetrate through human skin let alone inject any poison. The only time they will do this is if they are threatened or provoked, or trapped in clothing, and even then the bite is usually very mild for the average person, but as with bee and wasp stings, an individual’s response may vary. Complications usually arise from scratching the site of a bite and having it become infected.

Spiders have been on planet Earth for a long, long time. They were here before the dinosaurs, and have survived global extinction events. So it is safe to say they are here to stay, and will probaby be here once we have gone our way in the future.

Pholcidae (Cellar Spiders)

Daddy Long-legs Spider Pholcus phalangioides
Daddy Long-legs Spider
Pholcus phalangioides

Segestriidae (Tubeweb Spiders)

Snake-back Spider Segestria senoculata
Snake-back Spider
Segestria senoculata

Oonopidae (Goblin Spiders)

Goblin Spider Oonops domesticus
Goblin Spider
Oonops domesticus

Theridiidae (Comb-footed Spiders)

Rabbit Hutch Spider Steatoda bipunctata
Rabbit Hutch Spider
Steatoda bipunctata
Sardinidion blackwalli
Sardinidion blackwalli
Candy Stripe Spider (Enoplognatha ovata)
Candy Striped-spider
Enoplognatha ovata form redimita
Noble False Widow Steatoda nobilis male
Noble False Widow Spider
Steatoda nobilis
Theridion melanurum
Theridion melanurum
Selimus vittatus
Selimus vittatus
Platnickina tincta
Platnickina tincta
Candy Stripe Spider Enoplognatha ovata form lineata
Candy Striped-spider
Enoplognatha ovata form lineata
Paidiscura pallens
Paidiscura pallens

Tetragnathidae (Long-jawed Orbweb Spiders)

Tetragnatha montana
Shadow Stretch-spider
Tetragnatha montana
Shaded Orbweaver Metellina merianae female
Shaded Orbweaver
Metellina merianae

Tetragnatha pinicola
Tetragnatha pinicola
Lesser Garden Spider Metellina segmentata
Lesser Garden Spider
Metellina segmentata sensu lato

Araneidae (Orbweb Spiders)

Garden Spider Araneus diadematus
Garden Spider
Araneus diadematus
Missing-sector Orbweb Spider Zygiella atrica juvenile
Missing-sector Orbweb Spider
Zygiella atrica
Araniella sp.
Araniella sp.
Missing-sector Orbweb Spider Zygiella x-notata
Missing-sector Orbweb Spider
Zygiella x-notata
Cucumber Green Spider Araniella cucurbitina sensu lato
Cucumber Spider
Araniella cucurbitina sensu lato
Walnut Orb-weaver Nuctenea umbratica
Walnut Orb-weaver
Nuctenea umbratica

Lycosidae (Wolf Spiders)

Spotted Wolf Spider Pardosa amentata female
Spotted Wolf Spider
Pardosa amentata
Pirate Wolf Spider Pirata piraticus
Pirate Wolf Spider
Pirata piraticus
Ground Wolf Spider Trochosa terricola
Ground Wolf Spider
Trochosa terricola

Pisauridae (Nurseryweb Spiders)

Nursery Web Spider Pisaura mirabilis
Nursery Web Spider
Pisaura mirabilis

Agelenidae (Funnelweb Spiders)

Labyrinth Spider Agelena labyrinthica
Labyrinth Spider
Agelena labyrinthica
Eratigena sp. atrica group male
Eratigena sp. atrica group
Common House Spider Tegenaria domestica male
Common House Spider
Tegenaria domestica

Dictynidae (Meshweb Spiders)

Nigma walckenaeri male
Nigma walckenaeri
Dictyna uncinata
Dictyna uncinata

Amaurobiidae (Laceweb Spiders)

Lace-weaver Spider Amaurobius similis
Lace-weaver Spider
Amaurobius similis
Black Lace-weaver – Amaurobius ferox
Black Lace-weaver
Amaurobius ferox

Anyphaenidae (Buzzing Spiders)

Anyphaena accentuata
Buzzing Spider
Anyphaena accentuata

Clubionidae (Sac Spiders)

clubiona comta
Clubiona comta
Clubiona sp.
Clubiona sp.

Gnaphosidae (Ground Spiders)

Mouse Spider Scotophaeus blackwalli
Mouse Spider
Scotophaeus blackwalli

Philodromidae (Running Crab Spiders)

Philodromus dispar male
Philodromus dispar
Grass Spider (Tibellus oblongus)
Grass Spider
Tibellus oblongus
Philodromus albidus
Philodromus albidus
Philodromus sp aureolus group
Philodromus sp. aureolus group

Thomisidae (Crab Spiders)

Goldenrod Spider (Misumena vatia)
Goldenrod Spider
Misumena vatia)
Diaea dorsata spiderling
Green Crab Spider
Diaea dorsata spiderling
Common Crab Spider (Xysticus cristatus)
Common Crab Spider
Xysticus cristatus
Ozyptila praticola
Ozyptila praticola

Salticidae (Jumping Spiders)

Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus
Zebra Spider
Salticus scenicus
Sitticus pubescens
Sitticus pubescens
Pseudeuophrys lanigera
Pseudeuophrys lanigera

Linyphiidae (Money Spiders)

Centromerita bicolor
Centromerita bicolor
Common Hammock-weaver (Linyphia triangularis)
Common Hammock-weaver
Linyphia triangularis
Erigone atra
Erigone atra
Microneta viaria
Microneta viaria
Lepthyphantes minutus
Lepthyphantes minutus
Tenuiphantes tenuis
Tenuiphantes tenuis

For further reference see the links below:

British Arachnological Society (BAS) – Here you can find information on all things arachnological. Our emphasis is on British spiders but we also include other British arachnids, particularly Harvestmen (opilionids), Pseudoscorpions and Scorpions.

Facebook British Spider Identification Group – Any member can post information, ask questions, add albums or photos. If you need a spider identified we will do our best to help you.

Facebook UK Spiders Group – This is a page for spiders that have been found in the UK and Ireland

iRecord – iRecord is a website for sharing wildlife observations, including associated photos – you can register quickly and for free. Once you’ve registered, you can add your own biological records for other to see, and you can see what has been recorded by others. The goal of iRecord is to make it easier for wildlife sightings to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making at local and national levels.

NBN Atlas – The NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas is an online tool that provides a platform to engage, educate and inform people about the natural world. It will help improve biodiversity knowledge, open up research possibilities and change the way environmental management is carried out in the UK.