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Sun 30th December 2012 12:55 by Peter Harvey
I think it would be difficult to be sure. An adult female which had died after protecting her eggsacs would then become likely food for various other invertebrates such as scavenging beetles etc and these are more likely to have dismembered a carcass.
Sat 29th December 2012 18:54 by Matt Prince
Dysdera matriphagy?
Hi, just discovered a small group of spider cocoons under stones, on dissecting them I've found the constituent parts of dysdera (identified from the large red carapace with six eyes in a semi circle and huge fangs) rather like a spider airfix kit.

Does dysdera occassionally practice matriphagy? Or is there likely to have been something else at work? There is no sign of any spiderlings, and the exeoskeleton was in bits, so doesn't appear to have been ecdysis.

Regards, Matt

Sat 29th December 2012 14:23 by Evan Jones
Re Spider illustrations
Peter, I have found out that they are from a set of litho prints mainly of insects with some spiders produced in Germany in 1956. I had not seen them before but think them rather well done. Evan
Wed 26th December 2012 16:11 by Peter Harvey
These do look vaguely familiar, but I can't place them I'm afraid. Perhaps someone else can.


Tue 25th December 2012 20:39 by Evan Jones
Spider illustrations unknown source.
]Hello Everyone, Happy Christmas!

I have found some illustrations, described as prints from 1950's, of spiders being sold separately on the web. I assume they were taken from a book or books but I cannot remember seeing them before. Does anyone recognise them? Spider print 3 Copyright: Spider print 2 Copyright: Spider print 1 Copyright: Evan.

Tue 11th December 2012 19:19 by Matt Prince
Yes Peter it was a well marked sub-adult. I had another (I think) from the same area, same structure but poorly marked with a parasite attached in the usual place.

Rhododendron would seem an ideal habitat for a spider noted for its love of shaded situations.

Regards, Matt

Mon 10th December 2012 14:40 by Peter Harvey
I agree with everything you say, but would continue to argue that the modern fashion which assumes that every photograph can be identified to species-level is likely to result in a lot of wasted effort in the sense that there will be many cases where a definitive answer simply cannot be reliably provided without access to an actual adult spider and a microscope, and this will frequently not be available - and this is all the more frustrating where the spider might be of some significance!

I am not being critical of anybody here, so please don't take my posts as being targeted as yourself. It is extremely pleasing that you have suggested posting on the SRS forum and will continue to do so. Thank you for this. Was your Zilla diodia adult? I suspect not at this time of year, whereas juveniles/subadults would not be surprising. Zilla is one of the species which can generally be identified as a juvenile!

Mon 10th December 2012 13:09 by Matt Prince
Identifying spiders from photographs
Hi Peter,

I agree that most spiders can't be identified (to species) from most photographs, and I often re-iterate that on the various forums where spiders are posted for 'identification'.

However, I disagree that id from photographs is a worthless pursuit, as, if nothing else, its an opportunity to engage the public and encourage some interest in spiders. A surprising number of the photographs that are posted are identifiable, most to family, some to genera, and a surprising amount to species.

I also think a photograph, whilst it may not provide certainty, can give a good indication of whether something is worth further investigation ~ in this case I don't think I was wrong to push it on for clarification. It's araniella. Fine. That is why I suggested it get posted here, for confirmation *or* rejection. So I'll continue to suggest that identifications that are outside my experience, but possibly of some significance, are referred here. I'll also continue to promote the SRS as a source of information for distribution, phrenology etc.

On balance, I hope on our interactions, I'm still in credit, though I do need to get my next chunk of microscopically confirmed records to you.. I had an out of season adult male metellina mengei yesterday, and a zilla diodia on rhododendron the day before.

Regards, Matt

Wed 5th December 2012 08:31 by Peter Harvey
Basically it is exceptionally unwise to get into attempting to identify 95% of the British spider fauna to species level from juveniles, or from photographs, except where one is going to rear them through to confirm the identification of the adults. The bulk of the discipline is based on mature sexual characters for a very good reason! Identifications without examination of these will result in wrong identifications and worse than bad data. In many species variability in coloration, pattern and shape can be large, even in adults, but also in juveniles and changes through development.

The modern fashion that all and anything can be identified from a photograph, including photographs of juveniles, will also simply result in a lot of incorrect records and web traffic for no good purpose. I would certainly say that the spider pictured at link link is indeed likely to be an Araniella species and not A. alsine. People jump to the conclusion just from the colour that an araneid must be A. alsine when plenty of garden spider Araneus diadematus can be orange for example, a large proportion of Araniella juveniles can be orange and so on. Araneus diadematus can usually be distinguished by the abdominal markings, including in juveniles, but these are also very variable and sometimes indistinct. Araniella species certainly cannot be reliably determined without microscopical examination, and even then can be difficult.

Other than the very small proportion of species where for various reasons it is safe to assume a juvenile identification, adults are a must. The only way of getting experience of juveniles and making PROVISIONAL identifications in the field or from photographs is by examining a lot of adult spiders under a microscope over a great many years and rearing juveniles through.

Tue 4th December 2012 21:29 by Matt Prince
Good to know, thanks for that Evan.

Regs Matt

Tue 4th December 2012 21:15 by Evan Jones
Alsine is rounder and usually really glossy. I always start to look for them when I am on a wet part of a heathland/bog with good tussocks of Molinia and a scattering of small birch trees often at the edge of woodland. Or maybe on a heathy woodland ride on acid soil. It is the amazing levitating conical birch leaf floating in mid air a foot or two off the ground that is the usual give away.
Tue 4th December 2012 18:34 by Matt Prince
Alsine confusion
araniella was one of the possibles I considered for this photograph, however I wondered if it was a bit hairy (more an effect of pale hairs showing up I think now), in which case it might be an araneus, and that led me to a.alsine. A quick trawl of the web produced this link - presumably also araniella.

As I had no experience of this species, and considering its status in the UK (and especially the IOW) I thought it was worth flagging to someone that did have experience, just in case. A bit less optimism, and a bit more experience of juvenile araniella might have spared some net traffic, but its hard to get experience of juveniles when the bulk of the discipline is based on mature sexual characters.

It would be useful, for future reference, to know any firm character(s) that marks this as araniella rather than araneus, or is it just jizz (abdomen shape?) that marks this out to more experienced eyes?

Best Regards, Matt

Sun 2nd December 2012 12:20 by Rob Gates
re.Alsine IoW?
Thank you Evan and Peter.


Sun 2nd December 2012 08:42 by Peter Harvey
You certainly cannot determine a juvenile arachnid like this to species level. I agree with Evan and would say it will most likely be one of the Araniella species, many of which can be reddish when juvenile - not to be confused with Araniella displicata, where an adult and microscopical examination of epigyne/palp is an absolute necessity, as it is for any Araniella species. I definitely do not see this is as a possible Araneus alsine.


Sat 1st December 2012 23:47 by Evan Jones
Alsine IOW?
No pretty sure it is not. Looks a bit Araniellarish. Peter Harvey will know!
Sat 1st December 2012 20:30 by Rob Gates
Is this Araneus alsine on the IoW ?

I posted this spider photo for identification at Wild About Britain where Matt Prince and Pepsis have suggested it could be a juvenile Araneus alsine. Matt subsequently suggested I post the photo here for further comment.

I gather it may be of interest as there may not be records of this species for the Isle of Wight, if it is this species. The spider was photographed on beech around 2ft from the ground in mixed deciduous woodland near Sandown on 29th November.

Thanks in advance for any help, Rob


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