Wow, it’s time for the 14th spider already in the spider sunday series! I never thought I would encounter 14 different spiders, almost all of them in my modest, mostly tiled garden. I’ve spotted a couple more, but was unable to photograph them. I’ll keep trying, though!
The spider for this sunday is the common tree-weaver (Lepthyphantes minutus). It took me quite some time to figure out which species it was. When I spotted the spider, it was just coming out from its hiding place in a crack in the wall outside of my house. It then proceeded to discard a sucked-out fly from its web. Next to the discarded fly, I saw an ant stuck in the web as well. Because of the spider’s position, I only took photo’s from its ventral and lateral sides. A picture of the dorsal side would have made my search much easier. But I love challenges and as I gotten to know more about spiders through documenting them for this blog, I knew better what to look for.
Based on the web structure, I knew it had to be some kind of sheet weaver/money spider just like the spider from last week. These spiders build a chaotic, 3D web and hide behind it. When a prey lands on the web, the spider grabs it and pulls it through the web. I could also tell that the spider was female, based on the palps and the epigyny. However, most spiders in the sheet weaver (Linyphiidae) family are very difficult, if not impossible, to determine based on pictures alone. Fortunately after some digging and comparing pictures, I came across the common tree-weaver. Apparently, it is the only spider in its genus with banded legs with ‘spines’ on them and those features are exactly what my spider had.
Common tree-weavers are mostly found in woodlands, under logs or on tree trunks. Occasionally, you could find them around the house too. As with a lot of spiders in the sheet weaver family, not much else is known about these spiders.
Enjoy your sunday!