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Opinions can differ at the sight of a spider. Some people are just disgusted, while others are fascinated. There are many species of spiders. Below is a small list of native spiders.

In a nutshell

  • correct name web spiders (Araneae)
  • very different in appearance
  • there are around 1,000 native spiders in Germany
  • Large angle spider one of the largest spiders in this country

Extremely different appearance

The term spiders is not entirely correct, more precisely they are web spiders (Araneae). They belong to the genus of arachnids (Arachnida). There are many different species of spiders, some only a few millimeters in size. others a bit bigger. Many monochromatic, some colorful or with markings on the body. Even if the appearance can be quite different, all spiders have one thing in common, their physique:

  • Head and chest fused (prosoma)
  • articulated, stalked, large abdomen (opisthosoma)
  • strong mouthparts (chelicerae)
  • eight legs
  • eight spot eyes

Notice: Spiders have a rigid exoskeleton, which limits their growth. By molting, the shell is completely shed and after that the spider is a fifth larger.

Around 1,000 spider species are native to Germany. Below is a small list of well-known and lesser-known species.

Types from A - F

Canopy Spider (Linyphia triangularis)

  • Body length: 6 mm
  • Occurrence: August to October
  • Distribution: bushes, conifers
  • Appearance: brown on top with light markings, underside much darker, spherical abdomen
  • Nets: tightly woven, hung horizontally

Notice: This species of spider hangs upside down under the web and is well camouflaged by its color. Flying insects are brought down by the threads and fall into the web.

Window spider (Amaurobius fenestralis)

  • Body length: 12 mm
  • Occurrence: all year round
  • Distribution: in forests, especially in low mountain ranges
  • Appearance: round abdomen, greenish to brownish in colour, brownish head and chest area, darkly separated head, a very large pair of eyes, slightly hairy legs, brown and darkly ringed
  • Nets: consisting of a funnel with a dwelling behind it
  • Special features: Spider dies after laying eggs and is eaten by young.

Species with G

Garden spider (Araneus diadematus)

  • Body length: 20mm
  • Occurrence: July to October
  • Distribution: in forests, bushes and hedges
  • Appearance: Large, spherical abdomen, pale to dark brown coloration with variable markings, always cross-shaped, white markings in the upper half, white edges of the abdomen, small whitish hairy head, long strong legs, black and white ringed hairy pine palps
  • Nets: circular, filigree, stretched on holding threads, spider sitting in the middle

Notice: prey caught in the net are paralyzed with a venomous bite and encased in a cocoon. Then they are sucked out.

Large isopod hunter (Dysdera crocata)

Source: Katja Schulz from Washington, D.C., USA, Woodlouse Hunter (34169034835), edited by Plantopedia, CC BY 2.0
  • Body length: 15 mm
  • Occurrence: June to October
  • Distribution: forests, parks, gardens, buildings, greenhouses
  • Appearance: only three pairs of eyes, long, oval, light-brown abdomen, head and chest area dark to reddish brown, hook- or sickle-like mouth buttons, contain poisonous claws, reddish-brown legs
  • Special features: during the day resting in cocoons, at night catching prey (woodlice, insects)

Large angle spider (Eratigena atrica)
house angle spider

  • Body length: 20mm
  • Occurrence: all year round
  • Distribution: in deciduous forests, hedges, bushes, barns, cellars, apartments, always close to the ground
  • Appearance: oval, dark abdomen with brownish to gray markings, light and dark markings on the head and chest, long, strong legs
  • Nets: funnel nets in room corners
  • Special features: runs very fast, one of the largest spiders in Germany

Large electric spider (Pholcus phalangioides)

  • Body length: 9 mm
  • Occurrence: all year round
  • Distribution: apartments, basements
  • Appearance: small body, elongated oval brownish abdomen, almost circular light head-chest area, radiating legs, length is five times the body length
  • Nets: often on ceilings, sticky

Species with H

Harlequin jumping spider (Salticus scenicus)
zebra jumping spider

Source: Kaldari, Kaldari Salticus scenicus male 01, edited from Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
  • Body length: 7mm
  • Occurrence: May to October
  • Distribution: on warm places such as walls, stones, rocks and walls of buildings, throughout Germany
  • Appearance: densely haired, abdomen brown with white markings, head and chest area brown or darker with white markings, one pair of eyes enlarged, pale palpi on the mouth, thickened like a club at the end, short legs, light or dark brown ringed
  • Specialties: wanders around looking for prey, overpowers prey with a leap

Crested Web Spider (Enoplognatha ovata)

  • Body length: 5 mm
  • Occurrence: June to July
  • Distribution: in sunny places
  • Appearance: spherical abdomen, yellowish, sometimes bright red markings possible, head-chest area smaller, without markings, long white legs, darkly ringed
  • Special features: ambush prey on plants

Autumn spider (Metellina segmentata)

Source: H. Krisp, Autumn spider Metellina segmentata, edited from Plantopedia, CC BY 3.0
  • Body length: 10mm
  • Occurrence: May to November
  • Distribution: on embankments, bushes, trees
  • Appearance: whitish-brownish abdomen with dark brownish to reddish markings, large whitish head patterned with brownish elements, long whitish-brownish ringed legs
  • Nets: stretched at an angle to catch prey for smaller flying insects
  • Special features: mainly active in late summer and autumn

Cave spider (Nesticus cellulanus)

  • Body length: 6 mm
  • Occurrence: all year round
  • Distribution: damp caves, basements, walls
  • Appearance: shiny brown to green-brown, inconspicuously ringed, first pair of legs greatly elongated, shield on back with indistinct pattern, abdomen with heart-shaped spot, short white hair
  • Webs: Orb webs, spider upside down in it
  • Special features: need darkness and moisture

Types of I - R

Crab spider (Misumena vatia)

Source: Andreas Eichler, 2014.06.21.-01-Mannheim Rheinau-Variable crab spider females, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Body length: 8mm
  • Occurrence: May to August
  • Distribution: in natural landscapes with many flowers
  • Appearance: oval abdomen pushed back, first pair of legs elongated, males brown with white markings, females with variable body color
  • Special features: Females lie in wait for prey, can take on the color of yellow, white or green flowers

Notice: This species of spider can walk backwards and sideways.

Pumpkin Spider (Araneus cucurbitina)

Source: Puusterke, pumpkin spider (Araniella cucurbitina) 03, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Body length: 7mm
  • Occurrence: May to July
  • Distribution: in forests, gardens and parks
  • Appearance: Spherical abdomen with spinning glands, marbled and spotted in green and yellow tones, small brownish head, strong short legs, slightly hairy and greenish shimmering
  • Nets: horizontal to sloping on free-standing trees

List spider (Pisaura mirabilis)

  • Body length: 15 mm
  • Occurrence: May to July
  • Distribution: throughout Germany, on the plains, loves sunbathing on plant leaves
  • Appearance: Elongated, long, thin, brownish walking legs, abdomen narrow and elongated oval, light to yellowish with pronounced dark markings, head and chest area whitish to yellowish with longitudinal markings
  • Special features: skilful, fast hunter, lunges at the prey at full speed

Notice: For courtship, the female receives a spun-in prey from the male. It will only mate if it accepts it.

Species with S

Sector spider (Zygiella x-notata)

Source: David Short from Windsor, UK, Silver-sided sector spider (FG) (15962303249), edited by Plantopedia, CC BY 2.0
  • Body length: 7mm
  • Occurrence: July to November
  • Distribution: near buildings, on window frames, under woodpiles
  • Appearance: silvery spherical abdomen, markings in the form of an oak leaf in dark gray tones, large brownish-black head, strong, slightly hairy legs, silvery in color and ringed in dark grey
  • Special features: Net near buildings, one sector left out, signal thread runs through this, indicates prey capture

Stone Slab Spider (Drassodes lapidosus)

Source: AfroBrazilian, Drassodes lapidosus 01, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Body length: 13 mm
  • Occurrence: all year round
  • Occurrence: Meadows, dry forests, sometimes also in buildings
  • Appearance: slightly flattened, light brown, oval, dotted abdomen, head and chest area a little lighter, pronounced poisonous claws, long, strong, slightly hairy legs, dark at the end
  • Special features: nocturnal, during the day dormant in a dense, sack-shaped web

Silver spider (Argyroneta aquatica)

  • Body length: up to 15 mm
  • Occurrence: under water all year round, in hibernation during the cold season
  • Distribution: Shallow water, lakes, moors, riparian regions
  • Appearance: Males are beige-yellow in color, dark red legs, females are brown, with long, pointed, black poisonous claws
  • Nets: bell-shaped
  • Special features: must be on the surface of the water to breathe, can stay under water for up to four days, air supply in a net bell

Notice: The water spider is on the Red List of Threatened Spider Species and classified as critically endangered.

Types of T - Z

Tiger Spider (Argiope bruennichi)

Source: Anaxibia, Argiope bruennichi ukr, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Body length: up to 15 mm
  • Occurrence: July to October:
  • Distribution: sunny terrain, dry grassland, wasteland
  • Appearance: large abdomen with wasp-like markings, small front body, silvery hair, legs ringed in dark brown
  • Nets: wheel net tightly woven in the middle, vertical zigzag bands at the top and bottom

Wolf Spider (Trochosa ruricola)

  • Body length: 15 mm
  • Occurrence: all year round
  • Distribution: in forests under foliage, bushes and hedgerows, parks, gardens, on meadows
  • Appearance: rear and front body of the same size, abdomen dark brown to grey, sometimes light stripes and spots present, strong head-chest area, brown with light stripes, one pair of eyes particularly large, brownish slightly hairy mouth buttons, strong legs
  • Special features: nocturnal prey catching, during the day resting under stones, pieces of wood or leaves

frequently asked Questions

Is it true that spiders have blue blood?

Yes. In human blood, oxygen is bound to a molecule containing iron. Hence the red color. In spiders, on the other hand, this molecule contains copper. This is why the blood turns blue.

Are there also poisonous spider species in Germany?

There are three types of poisonous spiders in this country: the cross spider, the relatively rare thorn finger and the water spider. However, the spiders do not bite by themselves, they must be irritated or cornered. The bites can be somewhat painful but are not usually fatal. However, there can be complications for people with allergies.

What to do with a spider bite

Using a mosquito repellent can be helpful. There is a metal plate at the top. This must be pressed onto the bite wound. There it heats up and destroys the toxic protein. In any case, after such a bite, a doctor should be consulted. It is also important not to scratch the bite wound. Otherwise infections can occur.

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