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This page illustrates the theridiid or comb-footed spiders that I have encountered here in the UK. Some are very distinctive but for most species identification requires that the spider should be examined under the microscope. The palps (male) or epigyne (female) should be compared with illustrations in an identification guide.

Click on any image below to show an enlarged version.

Achearanea lunata
This is one of my favourite spiders. The huge adomen in relation to the rest of it is quite unusual. It is found on trunks and lower branches of trees in woodland. It is often seen on birch where it makes its web against depressions in the trunk. The spider on the left has a parasite attached.

Anelosimus vittatus

A fairly common theridiid that can be found in a variety of habitats.

Asagena phalerata

I find this on heaths and grassland on sandy soils. It is an ant predator.

Crustulina guttata

I've found this on a few heathland sites but, even on these, it's not numerous. The carapace of this species (and C. stricta) is rough and pitted.

Crustulina sticta

This can be found in wet habitats close to ground level. It's fairly common amongst dead reeds on one nature reserve I visit.

Enoplognatha ovata The candy stripe spider

The candy stripe spider, Enoplognatha ovata, is one of the most common spiders in my garden and in the countryside locally. It can be found with or without red stripes on the abdomen. Enoplognatha latimana is similar and careful examination under the microscope of a specimen is necessary to determine the species.

Enoplognatha thoracica

Brown and plain, it's dissimilar to other Enoplognatha species; it looks more like a large linyphiid (money spider). Found at or close to ground level in various habitats.

Episinus angulatus

This species is found amongst thick grass, heather etc in both wet and dry habitats. It builds a small simple web with the bottom attached to the ground to catch ants.

Neottiura bimaculatum

Another common theridiid found in a variety of habitats. The females carry their egg sac around with them.

Paidiscura pallens

This tiny spider can be found on the underside of leaves, particularly oak leaves, in late spring and summer, often with its distinctive-looking egg sac. Like most theridiids it is variable in appearance.

Platnickina tincta

I never find P tincta in large numbers at any site yet it is encountered quite often, usually amongst compact bushes in the countryside and in gardens.

Simitidion simile

Fairly easy to find this spider on sites with lots of heather. I have also found it on gorse.

Steatoda albomaculata

This attractive spider prefers sparsely vegetated habitats. It builds a web either in depressions in the ground or attached to the ground and the lower parts of plants. It was formerly widespread on breckland but its population may be declining as suitable sites are lost. This one was photographed at Lackford Lakes, Suffolk.

Steatoda bipunctata

A common spider around my house and garden. It can be seen outdoors but is more likely to be found inside the shed or the greenhouse, occasionally the house.

Steatoda nobilis, noble false widow

The spider that has launched a thousand headlines, due to its undeserved notoriety. My first Suffolk sighting of this species was in 2018, but since then I have seen many, in Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. In fact, it is probably the dominant spider species on town centre buildings. The picture shows a juvenile eating a wasp.

Theridion sp. (possibly melanurum)

A small member of the genus. Although its size and color can make it difficult to spot, for two years I found several of these on the outside walls of the house, shed and greenhouse. Since then I haven't seen any though I've kept looking for them.

Theridion familiare

In 2018 I had several of these tiny spiders around the front door of my house - at least six females and three males. They could be found where two walls meet as this provides a right angle bend across which they can build their webs. The best place for this on my house is where the walls of the porch meet the main house walls. The spiders hide themselves away, either in a silken retreat or in a depression in the mortar.

Theridion varians

As its scientific name implies, this spider is very variable in appearance. It is fairly common amongst trees, bushes, tall plants etc in countryside and gardens.