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Cobweb spiders
Cobweb spiders (Theridiidae), also called comb-footed spiders, belong to the order spiders (Araneae), the suborder Araneomorphae (also: Labidognatha), the series Entelegynae, and the superfamily Araneoidea. The family cobweb spiders includes 96 genera with 2283 species and its members are found throughout the world. . Cobweb spiders are frequently encountered in the temperate zones as well as in the subtropical and tropical regions.

Web of a Cobweb spider
Web of a Cobweb spider
In Europe the following genera can be found: Achaearanea, Anelosimus, Carniella, Chrysso, Coleosoma, Crustulina, Dipoena, Enoplognatha, Episinus, Euryopis, Keijia, Lasaeola, widow spiders (Latrodectus), Neottiura, Nesticodes, Paidiscura, Parasteatoda, Pholcomma, Robertus, Rugathodes , Simitidion, false black widows (Steatoda), Theonoe and Theridion.
A large number of the European species of cobweb spiders belong to the genus Theridion. Some of these species are very striking and colourful. The European cobweb spider species include: southern black widow (Latrodectus mactans), European or Mediterranean black widow (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus), Latrodectus hasselti, Carniella brignolii, Chrysso spiniventris, Coleosoma floridanum, Crustulina guttata, Dipoena braccata, Keijia tincta, Nesticodes rufipes, Paidiscura pallens, Pholcomma gibbum, Simitidion simile, Steatoda bipunctata, Steatoda albomaculata, Steatoda grossa, Steatoda triangulosa, Steatoda phalerata, Steatoda castanea, Steatoda meridionalis and Steatoda paykulliana.
Cobweb spiders are small to medium in size and reach body lengths of 3-15 mm. The females often have a round or elongated abdomen. Body colour and markings vary, depending on type. They can be very vividly coloured . There are also many single-coloured species, which often have no markings. The bodies can be very hard and covered with strikingly shaped spikes . Many species are covered in? fine hair and are shiny. The nocturnal cobweb spiderslive in caves and have small eyes, which are close together, forming a group.
Most species have spherical abdomens which are shiny black or brown to light brown incolourand often patterned in more or less contrasting colours . In many cases, the abdomen is oblong in shape. Most cobweb spiders have long, thin legs. A distinctive characteristic of these spiders, is the "comb" or “brush” on the feet (tarsi) of their 4th pair of legs, which is made from hairs (setae). The hairs are bent and have fine "teeth" along the edge. They help the spider to wrap its silk around the prey. Hence the name "comb-footed spiders".
Cobweb spiders are found in almost every environment where there is vegetation. Some species live in human environments, e.g. houses, basements, barns, sheds and greenhouses. They prefer dark, shady, protected habitats where they can find shelter.
Cobweb spiders which live mostly sedentary lifestyles can live a long time. They spin large webs and catch insects at night. Sometimes they hunt for insects on plants or whilst on the ground. Their webs are labyrinth like and are created like cobs. When larger populations occur in a limited space, social communities can develop, in which cobweb spiders combine their webs with those of their neighbours.

Common namesCobweb spiders, Comb-footed spiders, Tangle-web spiders, Theridiids, Cobweb weavers, Combfooted Spiders
German namesKugelspinnen, Haubennetzspinnen
Dutch namesKogelspinnen
Danish namesKugleedderkopper
Finnish namesPallohämähäkit
Norwegian namesKamfotedderkopper
Swedish namesKlotspindlar
AuthorSundevall, 1833







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Links and ReferencesTheridiidae in
Theridiidae in
Theridiidae in
Theridiidae in
Theridiidae in Wikipedia (English)

Further chapters of "Cobweb spiders"
- Rabbit Hutch Spider
- Enoplognatha ovata
- Steatoda castanea
Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Web of a Cobweb spider
Quick search: Cobweb - Spider - Theridiidae - Steatoda - Latrodectus - Small
Spiders - European - Web - Nesticodes - Black - Insects - Abdomen - Species
True Spiders
Cobweb spiders, Comb-footed spiders, Tangle-web spiders, Theridiids, Cobweb weavers, Combfooted Spiders
AuthorSundevall, 1833
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