Arachnologische Gesellschaft

Spider determination

Field guides on spiders are a good starting point for any interest in local spiders, the observation of the animals and their activities, recognizing the belonging to a certain spider family of a spider or even finding out, to which species it belongs. One such guide for the German-speaking regions is the Kosmos Spinnenführer by Heiko Bellmann, containing an excellent introduction in body structure, biology and ecology, instructions for spider photography and the presentation of over 400 European species, both in excellent pictures and short descriptions for each species. Especially the overview on spider families, including diagnostic characters as well as drawings, is supporting any determination attempt. It even includes some other arachnids and millipedes. Another new publication ist “Britain‘s Spiders: A Field Guide“ (Princeton University Press), which was produced in cooperation with the British Arachnological Society.

The professional determination of European spiders is supported by the excellent online determination tool araneae. It displays about 4500 species/taxa with over 22,000 pictures and drawings as well as all determination keys. The vision behind this cooperative non-profit undertaking under the direction of Wolfgang Nentwig (University Bern) is providing everyone with taxonomic pictures from all relevant sources. Often only the comparison of different perspectives of a given morphological structure leads to a justified and confident species determination.

But araneae is not only a help in taxonomic questions. Among its merits there are data sheets for every species, with short descriptions, the distribution in Europe displayed on maps, links to the World Spider Catalog (on species and familial level) as well as a photo gallery with more than 2300 photos. A designated barcoding tool together with the link to the BOLD database provides an overview on the state of research concerning the barcoding of the spiders in Europe. A biodiversity tool provides country lists and other country-specific data on diversity.