Summary for Cryptachaea riparia (Araneae)

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National Distribution

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Female Achaearanea riparia Copyright: Tylan Berry
Identification difficulty rating: 4
Name: Cryptachaea riparia
Authority: (Blackwall, 1834)
Order: Arachnida: Araneae
Family: Theridiidae
National Rarity status: NS
IUCN status: LC

Records: 166
First Record: 1864
Latest Record: 2022

1992-on hectads: 63
Pre-1992 hectads: 28
Total hectads: 84

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About this species

Recorded altitude range
0m to 700m

Species text

A. riparia is largely confined to the south of England, East Anglia and South Wales. There are old records for Cumberland and Nottinghamshire which may be doubtful, but it has been recorded recently in Yorkshire and from several sites in Leicestershire. This species is widespread in north-western and central Europe, but very rare for example in the west of France (Asselin et al. 1990) and Norway.

Habitat and ecology
Mainly heathland, but also in woodland rides and at the margins of arable fields. The spider is found among roots on overhanging banks or beneath low vegetation, mainly on heathland but also along rides in commercial forests. It spins a web with long sticky threads that are fixed to the ground, where they catch crawling insects. Ants form a large proportion of the prey caught. A retreat is built at the top of the web, which consists of a long silken tube covered with debris. Males are adult between late May and July, females from May to September.

The species appears to have undergone major decline, but it needs to be specifically searched for in its specialised habitats. It has been found at 10 locations since 1992 and the number of hectads with records has fallen from 23 before 1992 to 9 after that date, equivalent to a decline of 61% in area of occupancy. It is generally rare, though may be fairly numerous where it occurs.

The loss of sandy banks.

Management and conservation
Maintain sandy banks with overhanging vegetation. Provide 'beetle banks' at the margins of arable fields.

Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.).  References

Adult Season

Adult Season Data (based on 81 records with adult season information)


background methodology

Broad Habitat Data (based on 49 records with habitat information)

Broad subhabitat Data (based on 4 records with subhabitat information)

Structural Habitat Data (based on 35 records with structural habitat information)

Habitat Detail and Method (based on 34 records with habitat detail and method information)

Recorded management for locations with Cryptachaea riparia

Recorded substrate and hydrology for locations with Cryptachaea riparia


Cryptachaea riparia
Cryptachaea riparia
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