Lace Webbed Spiders
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Scientific name: Amaurobius sp.
Size: Females up to 10mm
Distribution: Found in most parts of the UK
Months seen: All year round
Habitat: Holes in walls and fences and sometimes around window frames
Food: Flies and other small insects
Special features: This is one of two very similar species of spider - hence the name similis. If you find one in a house it is likely to be Amaurobius similis. If you find one in a garden or outdoors it is likely to be Amaurobius fenestralis
When Lace Webbed spiders were first described the name "fenestralis", meaning 'of windows', was given to the species as it was thought to be associated with houses. However, it was later found that there were two different species of Lace Webbed spiders. The one which initially been described was in fact the species which usually occurs outside under bark on trees. The house-associated species was therefore given the name similis ('similar'). Fenestralis is usually brighter and more clearly marked but to be certain of identification the genitalia need to be checked.
Lace Webbed spiders produce a blueish coloured silk around the entrance to holes and crevices on just about every wall you look at. If you go out after dark with a torch you can often see the spiders out in the open.
Information courtesy of Ian Dawson, British Arachnological Society