Common English Spiders

Written by christa kerley
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Common English Spiders
Numerous spiders are common to England. (spider image by wilmar huisman from

According to the British Arachnological Society's 2010 member's handbook, the United Kingdom has approximately 650 species of spiders. Most English spiders are small and delicate, like the Widow Spider, which measures 6 to 9mm in length, and the Money spider, which only measures two mm fully grown. Some common English spiders live indoors, and some prefer to live in gardens and backyards.

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Hunting Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)

The English Hunting Spider is in the family of wolf spiders, and is very common in and around homes in the United Kingdom. It is so named because it hunts rather than builds a web to catch its prey. These spiders have acute eyesight and are extremely fast. Hunting spiders capture their meal by chasing it down and injecting venom with their fangs, rendering the victim immobile. The hunting spider's venom is harmless to humans, but the bite will feel a bit like a bee sting. They are either brown or grey, and the juveniles have a dark yellow vertical stripe down their backs. One of England's larger spiders, fully grown female hunting spiders can reach lengths of up to 15mm. Hunting spiders are most predominant in the southern region of Great Britain.

Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus)

The zebra spider is a common spider found throughout England and the United Kingdom. It gets its name from the characteristic black and white horizontal stripes on its abdomen. It also is known as the British jumping spider because it will frequently jump from place to place when hunting or threatened. Zebra spiders are accomplished hunters and do not spin webs to catch prey. Instead, they sneak up on their victim and pounce on them. Zebra spiders are not a threat to humans as they are extremely small, measuring between 5 and 7mm long, and are unable to penetrate human skin.

Money Spider (Linyphia triangularis)

According to the British Arachnological Society, there are 270 species of money spiders, making up approximately 40% of all spiders living in the United Kingdom. The money spider is a type of sheet weaver, meaning that they build flat sheet-like webs that are horizontal to the ground to catch their prey. These spiders are exceptionally small, measuring only 2mm at adulthood. Money spiders are very common in England and are traditionally said to be a symbol of good luck. During a particular time of year, money spiders take flight by spinning small webbed sails that catch the wind. The process, called "ballooning" according to the British Arachnological Society, literally sends millions of money spiders into the air in and around human populated areas. Often their webs get caught in the hair of an unsuspecting passersby, which according to tradition will soon bring wealth to the lucky recipient.

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