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Family: Pholcidae


Crossopriza lyoni Blackwall, 1867

Family: Pholcidae
Size: 7-9 mm
Distribution: Tropics.
Habitat: Inside houses.

Carapace is circular with the eyes slightly raised and projecting forwards and with an yellow-brown median stripe. The abdomen is short and oval with its position indented into a slightly projecting rounded hump. Crossopriza has a box-like side view. There are some black and yellow patches in the yellowish brown abdomen. The legs are spotted and streaked with black.


Smeringopus pallidus Blackwall, 1858

Family: Pholcidae
Size: 7-9 mm
Distribution: Cosmopolitan
Habitat: Dusty and dark corners of the house, under-covered drains, on mud walls in gardens and countryside.

Carapace is circular and wider than long. The 8 eyes are arranged in a typical pholcid fashion. The abdomen is elongated, oval and three times as long as the carapace. There is a very marked pattern consisting of three wide, longitudinal, broken bands of brown patches on a light brown background. The legs are long and uniformly brown except for white annulations near the joints.


Family: Pisauridae


Pisaura putiana Barrion & Litsinger, 1995

Family: Pisauridae
Size: 10-14 mm
Distribution: India, Philippines
Habitat: Moist Deciduous forests

These are commonly found near water bodies. There is a brown median band on the carapace with a thin white border. There is a thin white median stripe on the cephalus with light brown lateral bands. There is a wide median longitudinal brown band on the abdomen with two, thin, slightly wavy white lines towards the middle. The sides of the abdomen are white in colour.


Thalassius albocinctus Doleschall, 1859

Family: Pisauridae
Size: 8-10mm
Distribution: India: Kerala; Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore
Habitat: Moist Deciduous forests

These are commonly called fishing spiders because of their habit of catching small fish. The spider is very beautiful in appearance and can be easily distinguished by the presence of black, glossy, broad median band bordered by white lateral band on cephalothorax and abdomen. The legs are long and yellowish brown. It is found near water usually near small rivulets in forest. In Kerala this species is found in Bhoothathankettu and Edamalyar regions of Ernakulam district. The spider has the habit of resting on the upper surface of broad leaves with legs arranged in pairs of two. Spider put its forelegs immersed in water, when any fish arrives near it, its vibration are detected by the spider, which then dashes into the water to catch the fish. Thalassius is a tropical genus and ranges from Africa to southern China and Sulavesi.


Family: Psechridae


Psechrus alticeps Pocock, 1899

Family: Psechridae
Size: 24mm
Distribution: India: Kerala
Habitat: Moist Deciduous forests

These are cribellate spiders and has cribellum on the under surface of its abdomen near spinnerets. Cribellum produces a sticky silk and are kneaded by another structure called calamistrum found in these spiders. Psechrus alticeps is a large spider that is very common in the forests of Kerala. They spin their webs usually in the bottom of tall forest trees, preferably in hollow found at the bottom of these trees. Spiders remain upside down in its web and on slight disturbance its escapes into safe retreat. Webs are horizontal and consist of two layers usually and are messed up with remains of prey and other debris. The cephalothorax is brownish yellow in colour with two dark brown longitudinal bands about middle and a dark brown longitudinal band on lateral margin. Abdomen has dark mottled pattern, on light background. On the under surface, abdomen has a median longitudinal white line sometimes bordered by two lateral lines also. Psechrus spiders range from Himalayas and southern china in north to Sri Lanka and Philippines in the south.


Family: Salticidae


Hasarius adansoni (Audouin, 1826)

Family: Salticidae
Size: 6-8 mm
Distribution: Cosmopolitan
Habitat: Tree trunks, walls of buildings

This is a dull coloured spider. The cephalothorax is thick and "U" shaped. Abdomen is broad and oval, rounded at the front and very slightly tapering to the rear. Legs are long and moderately spiny. The dark brown eye area is bordered by a light crescent-shaped area carrying white hairs. There is white crescent-shaped collar around the shoulders. There are two white spots on the abdomen.


Menemerus bivittatus (Dufour, 1831)

Family: Salticidae
Size: 7-10 mm
Distribution: Cosmopolitan
Habitat: Tree trunks, walls of buildings, and other man-made structures.

This is also a common house spider. The eye field is black and the carapace is brown with a characteristic white marginal band. The abdomen is whitish brown with a broad dark brown median band along the entire length. Legs are whitish brown with some light brown patches and rings. This spider has cosmopolitan distribution.


Myrmarachne plataleoides (O. P.-Cambridge, 1869)

Family: Salticidae
Size: 6-7mm
Distribution: India: Kerala; Sri Lanka, China
Habitat: Near to the colonies of red tree ants in trees

This is a perfect mimic of red tree ant Oecophylla smaragdina. There is complete copying of external features and colours of ant. To this passive mimicry a close imitation of general movements of the ant are also observed. Front legs are usually kept raised, bent in the middle and move like the antennae of an ant. Spiders are usually observed near ants' nest. Observation of Mathew (1935) showed that M. plateleoides does not feed on adult ants, but only on the larvae and pupae of these ants.


Phintella vittata (C. L. Koch, 1846)

Family: Salticidae
Size: 9-11mm
Distribution: Kerala, Sikkim, India to Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Southern china,
Habitat: Foliage of garden plants and also in forest plants.

This is a colourful salticid found on leaves of shrubs. Cephalothorax is high; cephalus flat and thorax sloping. Sides are more or less vertical. The abdomen is oval and whitish anteriorly and narrowing to a rounder posterior. Front legs of the male are stronger and longer than others. Body is covered with dense bluish white iridescent sqamose hairs. Ventral side of the abdomen is whitish grey with two pairs of broad, elongated, transverse black bands along the sides. There is a semicircular black region near the spinnerets. The electric blue and black appearance of this spider in the field is most striking.


Plexippus paykulli (Savingyny & Audouin, 1825)

Family: Salticidae
Size: 7-9mm
Distribution: Throughout tropics
Habitat: Tree trunks, walls of buildings

This is one of the best known spiders all over tropics just like Heteropoda venatoria. It can be found moving over the walls in our house quite frequently. Male is characterised by the presence of median white band on cephalothorax and abdomen, both bordered by black lateral bands. Female is dull brown coloured with two white spots on the abdomen. Unlike other families, spiders of the family Salticidae do not spin web for prey capture. They use silk only for producing egg case and nest. They are highly agile jumpers and jump many times their body length in a single jump.


Plexippus petersi (Karsch, 1878)

Family: Salticidae
Size: 7-10mm
Distribution: Throughout tropics
Habitat: Tree trunks, walls of buildings

It can be found moving over the walls in our house quite frequently. Male is characterised by the presence of incomplete white bands on cephalothorax and abdomen unlike P. paykulli. Female is dull brown coloured with two white spots on the abdomen. Unlike other families, spiders of the family Salticidae do not spin web for prey capture. They use silk only for producing egg case and nest. They are highly agile jumpers and jump many times their body length in a single jump.


Portia fimbriata (Doleschall, 1859)

Family: Salticidae
Size: 7-10mm
Distribution: Throughout tropics
Habitat: Tree trunks, waste lands, dry leaves.

Cephalothorax is high with the rear eyes located nearby. The plane of the cephalic part slopes gently from the highest point to the front eyes and the thorax curves fairly steeply to the posterior edge. Carapace is broad but longer than wide, orange brown in colour covered with brown black hairs and has a wedge shaped white band running from the fovea to the rear edge and broad, white marginal bands. From the front it has a characteristic broad white moustache and exceedingly hairy light brown and white palps. Above the front median eyes, there appear to be two horns giving the spider a thoroughly demonic appearance. The abdomen is oval, slightly rounded at the front and pointed at the rear. It is brownish with lighter markings and brown hairs. There are a number of characteristic tufts of erect long orange white hairs. Most notable feature of the leg is the contrast between the exceeding long haired upper segments and the very thin tarsi and metatarsi. Sometimes found in irregular webs or webs of other spiders.


Telamonia dimidiata (Simon, 1899)

Family: Salticidae
Size: 9-11mm
Distribution: Kerala, Gujarat, Bhutan, Sumatra, Singapore
Habitat: Common in the leaves of garden plants, and in forest herbs.

Though Tikader has identified this species has Phidippus pateli, it is in fact Telamonia dimidata described by Simon. This is a common spider in the leaves of garden plants. Female is pale yellowish coloured with two reddish brown longitudinal bands on the abdomen, whereas male is characterised by a median white band on the abdomen bordered by black lateral bands and cephalothorax has white median central spots and lateral white bands. It makes its nest among leaves. This species is common in all the districts of Kerala.


Thiania bhamoensis Thorell, 1887

Family: Salticidae
Size: 5-7mm
Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar.
Habitat: Common in the leaves of garden plants, and in forest herbs.

These spiders are commonly seen on leaves. The cephalothorax is flat and longer than broad. The abdomen is elongated, rounded at the front end and converging steadily to the spinnerets. Cephalothorax is black or dark colour and followed by a broad, crescent-shaped band of iridescent, bronze-coloured, squamose hairs. First pair of legs are slightly swollen and larger than others. Thiania is distributed throughout the South-East Asia.


Family: Scytodidae


Scytodes sp.

Family: Scytodidae
Size: 5-7 mm
Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, northern Australia, southern Japan.
Habitat: Dry, dusty and sheltered corners of wooden houses.

These spiders are characterized by six eyes arrange in three compact pairs located at the corners of an equilateral triangle. The anterior median pair is near to the clypeus, with the other two pairs of smaller eyes behind. The cephalothorax is dome shaped with the highest point well behind the middle and narrowish towards front. The abdomen is oval shaped about as long and as wide as carapace. Their long legs are 2-3 times the length of the spider. The spider is dark-brown in colour. Legs are annulated.


Family: Sicariidae


Loxosceles sp.

Family: Sicariidae
Size: 4-6 mm
Distribution: Cosmopolitan.
Habitat: Room corners, book shelves, switchboxes, mail boxes.

These are flat-bodied spiders with a circular carapace drawn out to a rounded, narrowish projection at the front. The six eyes are arranged in three compact pairs. The abdomen is uniform, oval and longer than carapace. The carapace is creamy with greyish dark abdomen. The legs are long and slender being 2-3 times longer than the body of the spider. The eyes are very bright.


Family: Sparassidae


Heteropoda venatoria Linnaeus, 1767

Family: Sparassidae
Size: 2.2 to 2.8 cm
Distribution: All over India, Pantropical
Habitat: In warm weather, it may be found in and about human habitations; in cold weather it will be found indoors, under furniture or cabinets, behind wall hangings, and in closets and garages.

The huntsman spider, Heteropoda venatoria (L.), sometimes called the giant crab spider or the banana spider (due to its occasional appearance in marketed bananas), is a cosmotropical species introduced into most countries by man. It is presumed to have been introduced from Asia, where many of its closest relatives live. Heteropoda venatoria is a large brown spider with a flattened body structure. Both sexes have a yellow to cream clypeus and a wide marginal band encircling the rest of the carapace, chocolate in females and cream in males. Males have distinct black lateral patches on carapace. Females of H. venatoria make flattened, disc-like egg sacs about 1.5 cm in diameter which contain over 200 eggs. This and similar species are highly valued in tropical countries because they capture and feed on cockroaches and other domestic insect pests. The flattened body enables this large spider to fit into surprisingly small cracks and crevices. This ability, along with its adaptability to human habitations, helps explain its frequent occurrence in houses, barns, sheds, under boards on the ground, and in other sheltered areas. Being cold-sensitive, these spiders cannot exist outdoors in areas with freezing winter temperatures. It is not a dangerous spider, but a locally painful bite can be delivered to any human who carelessly handles a huntsman spider.


Olios milleti Pocock, 1901

Family: Sparassidae
Size: 13-17 mm
Distribution: Tropics and subtropics
Habitat: Foliage in garden.

These spiders are green in colour and are found among foliage. There is an hourglass shaped red mark on the ventral side of the abdomen. The cephalothorax is wider than long. These spiders are smaller than H. venetoria.


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