Spider of the Year 2017

The Walnut Orb-Weaver Nuctenea umbratica (Clerck, 1757)

Nuctenea umbratica (Clerck, 1757) belongs to the family of true orb-weavers (Araneidae). This family has 3,095 species world-wide, of which 128 are found in Europe. The genus Nuctenea is represented by two species in (Central)-Europe. Nuctenea umbratica is found throughout Europe.

Its vertical distribution is predominantly from flatlands to low hills (up to about 800 metres above sea level), with only a few records at higher elevations up to 1000 metres in places like Tyrol. The species occupies various habitats. It was originally a bark-associated species, particularly found on dead standing wood with loose bark, but is now also found in urban environments like house walls and fences, especially in nooks and crevices. In German, for example, it is called the crevice orb weaver. In some habitats it can be encountered quite frequently and in Central Europe the species is categorised as not threatened.


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