Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3

Family: Tetragnathidae


Herennia ornatissima (Doleschall, 1859)

Family: Araneidae
Size: 12-15mm
Distribution: India: Kerala; Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Singapore, Malyasia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Thailand
Habitat: Evergreen Forest

This is not a common spider in Kerala, during our studies we have observed it rarely. It spins vertical orb web almost close to tree trunks or wall of buildings. The abdomen is flat and pentagonal with its edges lobed, this characteristic shapes makes identification easier. The female rests head down wards in the web. Its colouration makes it well camouflaged against bark of trees.


Leucauge decorata (Blackwall) 1864

Family: Tetragnathidae
Size: 7-9 mm.
Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Northern Australia.
Habitat: Low shrubs in shaded and moist environments.

These are orb web builders in shaded vegetation. The cephalothorax is flat which is pale yellow, darkens medially and towards the margin. Pedicel joins the abdomen some distance along the ventral side. The abdomen is tubular, tapers to the front and protrudes to the rear over the spinnerets. There are silver white patches all over the abdomen. The legs are long and thin with dark brown annulations. Femora IV with uniform rakes of long curved trichobothria.


Nephila kuhlii Doleschall, 1859

Family: Tetragnathidae
Size: Female: 50-60 mm; Male: 5-6 mm.
Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, China, Japan, Northern Australia.
Habitat: Primary and secondary forests, wasteland and gardens.

The cephalothorax is thin and flat with the cephalus raised. At the rear of the cephalus, there are two short horn-like projections. The abdomen is long, rounded, widest and truncated in the front, narrowing gradually to a rounded posterior. The abdomen covers pedicel and spinnerets. The legs are very long and red in colour. The front legs are about twice as long as the spider, thin, brittle and swollen at the joints. There is a longitudinal row of short spines on the femora. Carapace and abdomen is black in colour. The male is reddish brown in colour and hangs on the edge of the web and is very smaller than the female.


Nephila maculata (Fabricius) 1793

Family: Tetragnathidae
Size: Female: 50-60 mm; Male: 5-6 mm.
Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, China, Japan, Northern Australia.
Habitat: Primary and secondary forests, wasteland and gardens.

The cephalothorax is thin and flat with the cephalus raised. At the rear of the cephalus, there are two short horn-like projections. The abdomen is long, rounded, widest and truncated in the front, narrowing gradually to a rounded posterior. The abdomen covers pedicel and spinnerets. The legs are very long. The front legs are about twice as long as the spider, thin, brittle and swollen at the joints. There is a longitudinal row of short spines on the femora. Carapace is black and covered with very short silvery hairs. The abdomen is black with yellow longitudinal bands. The male is reddish brown in colour and hangs on the edge of the web and is very smaller than the female.


Opadometa fastigata (Simon, 1877)

Family: Tetragnathidae
Size: 7-9 mm.
Distribution: India, Philippines.
Habitat: Low shrubs in shaded and moist environments.

These are orb web builders in shaded vegetation. The cephalothorax is flat which is pale yellow, darkens medially and towards the margin. Pedicel joins the abdomen some distance along the ventral side. Front of the abdomen of the female tapers strongly and overhangs most of the carapace. The abdomen is tubular, tapers to the front and protrudes to the rear over the spinnerets. There are silver white patches all over the abdomen. The legs are long and thin with dark brown annulations. Femora IV with uniform rakes of long curved trichobothria. There is also a substantial brush of hairs all round or almost all along tibia IV.


Tetragnatha javana (Thorell, 1890)

Family: Tetragnathidae
Size: 90 -110 mm
Distribution: India: Kerala, Barkuda Is., Chingleput; Sri Lanka, Africa, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia
Habitat: Moist Deciduous forests, among bushes even in urban areas.

This is a nocturnal spider but instead of frequenting water it spins its webs among bushes in the jungle. It can be easily distinguished in field by the bright green of its lateral sides and reddish brown on the dorsum of abdomen. The characteristic colouration makes it well camouflaged in the leaves. Female is recognized by the presence of semicircular ridge between first dorsal and ventral spine. In male the first dorsal and sub apical spines are about of equal length. This species is characterized by the long, tapering, pointed abdomen with spinnerets at midway.


Tetragnatha viridorufa Gravely, 1921

Family: Tetragnathidae
Size: 90 -110 mm
Distribution: India: Kerala, Barkuda Is., Chingleput
Habitat: Moist Deciduous forest, among bushes even in urban areas.

This is a nocturnal spider but instead of frequenting water it spins its webs among bushes in the jungle. It can be easily distinguished in field by the bright green of its lateral sides and reddish brown on the dorsum of abdomen. The characteristic colouration makes it well camouflaged in the leaves. Female is recognized by the presence of semicircular ridge between first dorsal and ventral spine. In male the first dorsal and sub apical spines are about of equal length. This is the only species of Tetragnatha that can be identified in field easily due to its characteristic colouration.


Family: Theraphosidae


Poecilotheria regalis Poccok, 1899

Family: Theraphosidae
Size: 60-70mm
Distribution: India: Kerala
Habitat: Moist Deciduous forests

Commonly called Bird eating spiders, Tarantulas, Poecilotheria spp are the largest spiders found in Indian subcontinent. They are arboreal spiders living in the cracks and holes existing in the bark of tall forest trees. They live in colonies, with each burrow consisting of males, females and young ones. They are nocturnal and hunt mostly at night. Though they mainly feed on insects they are capable of eating any animal which it can over power including geckos, small birds etc. It was earlier believed that its hairs are irritating in nature but this is not true as established by the experience of ours and other researchers. They are considered as highly poisonous by the tribal and rural folk. There are many stories of people being bitten to death by Poecilotheria. But the fact whether poison of Poecilotheria is fatal to human beings is yet to be proven. Only thing we are sure is that, its bite is intensely painful and usually wound takes many days to heal if not treated properly.

Poecilotheria regalis can be distinguished by the presence of yellowish transverse bands on the legs and a conspicuous transverse yellowish band on the under surface of the abdomen. It is reported by few researchers that Poecilotheria regalis is the most poisonous of other Poecilotheria species and a bite can cause a coma. Poecilotheria regalis is mostly northern in distribution and reported from Siruvani in Palakkad District, and Thiruvankulam in Ernakulam District.


Poecilotheria striata Poccok, 1895

Family: Theraphosidae
Size: 60-70mm
Distribution: India: Kerala
Habitat: Moist Deciduous forests

These are one of the most sought out spiders of our country because of their large size and beautiful body pattern. They are reared by many curious animal lovers as pets in glass cages in Europe and America. There are many advertisements in the internet stating that price of one large specimen may cost around $250. This high price is motivating many to illegally collect these spiders and export to various countries in the Europe and USA. Unfortunately there does not exist any law to prevent the collection of these rare spiders from our state. It will be worth while if Government of India takes steps to put all Poecilotheria spp in Schedule I of Indian Wild life Protection Act.

Poecilotheria striata can be distinguished by the presence of yellowish transverse bands on the legs. The cephalothorax has a wide pale edge with the central part being black aside from a Y-shaped marking around the foveal groove and a pale patch behind the ocular tubercle. The abdomen is grey and has a broad, cream-coloured wavy median line along its length centrally. Inside this is a narrower, slightly darker foliate band. Black lines or chevrons extend the edge of the foliate median line down the sides of the abdomen.


Family: Theridiidae


Achaearanea mundulum (L. Koch) 1872

Family: Theridiidae
Size: 4-5 mm
Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Australia.
Habitat: Garden.

The cephalothorax is flat and smooth with a balloon shaped abdomen with its axis almost vertical and the spinnerets at the bottom. There are dark brown pentagonal patches on the abdomen etched out by white lines. The carapace is dark brown with blackish radiating streaks. From above, the abdomen is circular. Legs are thin with a few weak spines, pale whitish yellow in colour with dark brown annulations. First pair of legs are longer than others. Retreat is an inverted cone formed from a leaf which hangs in the middle of irregular web which acts as a protection for eggs also.


Theridula angula Tikader, 1970

Family: Theridiidae
Size: 3-5 mm
Distribution: India.
Habitat: Garden.

The cephalothorax is rising steadily from the rear edge to the eye region which slightly projects forwards. From above, it is almost circular rising steadily from the rear edge to the eye region which slightly projects forwards. From above, it is almost circular and about as wide as long, widely truncated at the rear and somewhat pointed at the front. From above, the abdomen is almost symmetrical diamond shaped, wider than long, with rounded corners. From side, abdomen is clearly raised and the pedicel is located roughly midway between the highest points of abdomen. The legs are thin, not particularly long, apparently free of spines, and pale yellow in colour. There are black dots on the two rounded shoulders and the posterior tip of abdomen.


Family: Thomisidae


Amyciaea forticeps (O. P.-Cambridge, 1873)

Family: Thomisidae
Size: 4-6 mm
Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia.
Habitat: Foliage.

These are Oecophylla (weaver ants) like spiders with brown orange colour. The smooth cephalothorax is high, thoracic slope being steep with the sides and the tall clypeus almost vertical. The eye region is flattish. Shape of the cephalothorax is somewhat similar to the abdomen of ant. The abdomen is globular, slightly tapering anteriorly and steep posteriorly. On the rear end of the abdomen, there are two circular black dots near the top. When viewed from behind, the shape of the abdomen together with the black dots is remarkably similar to the head and eyes of an ant. The legs are long and thin without spines with orange colour. Their movement is characterized by the raised first pair of legs resembling the antennae of ants.


Camaricus formosus Thorell, 1887

Family: Thomisidae
Size: 4-6 mm
Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Sumatra, China, Philippines.
Habitat: Green leaves and flowers.

Broad and flat spiders with flattish cephalothorax, slightly convex on the top but with steep sides and thorax. From above the cephalothorax is almost square. From the sides, the abdomen is of uniform thickness with the flat top more or less continuing with the general level of the cephalothorax. The front end covers much of the rear margin of the carapace. They have moderately long legs which are strong and carry few small spines dorsally on the femora. Carapace is bright orange in colour and the eye surroundings are black. The abdomen is black with an intensely white semicircular collar at the front with a broken transverse white band across the middle. The legs are pale yellow in colour.


Oxytate virens (Thorell, 1891)

Family: Thomisidae
Size: 7-9 mm
Distribution: India, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka.
Habitat: Foliage and grasses.

These are green in colour with light green colour pattern on the abdomen. They have slightly protruding lateral eyes. The eyes are surrounded by white enamel-like rings. They are found in leaves or flowers matched with colour of the spider. The cephalothorax is flat, broadly oval and broader than long, with both front and rear widely truncated. The abdomen is oval, long and as wide as the carapace. The legs are long with dark spines.


Thomisus sp.

Family: Thomisidae
Size: 9-11 mm
Distribution: India.
Habitat: Foliage and flowers.

These spiders are brightly coloured. The cephalothorax is quite low but raised near the middle with flat cephalus sloping slowly downwards to a wide carina at the front and sloping more steeply on the sides and thorax. The thorax is quite wide as long as broad with its anterior margin bearing pointed horns. The abdomen is flat on top and is obliquely truncated at the front and rear with a pentagonal shape. The sides diverge from the carinate anterior edge to two distinct rounded tubercles which lie at the limit of the flat upper surface. From the tubercles the sides drop away very steeply and converge to the spinnerets. Legs are smooth, the first and second pairs much robust than the third and fourth. Ventral side of the tibia and metatarsal of the first and second pairs bear spines.


Family: Uloboridae


Miagrammopes sp.

Family: Uloboridae
Size: 7-9mm
Distribution: India
Habitat: Moist Deciduous forest

These are commonly called Twig like Feather legged spider, because of their slender body. Their web consists of a single line, which is formed of sticky silk. This sticky silk is capable of catching any insect that lands on it, it is thought that sticky thread carries a pheromone to attract the insects. These species are characterised by only four eyes; and the first leg is more robust than other legs.


Zosis geniculatus (Oliver) 1789

Family: Uloboridae
Size: 5-7mm
Distribution: Tropics
Habitat: Old garages and abandoned sheds

The cephalothorax is flatter. On the abdomen, there is a single, much flattened, easily noticeable hump. The abdomen is light and the annulated legs are dark brown and white. These are orb web building spiders common on room ceilings.


Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3