It's the time of year that you'll find spiders inviting themselves into your home — but what are they? Ian Morton runs down 10 spiders you'll spot in Britain.
Spiders are everywhere. There are some 640 indigenous species in England and Wales, and in great numbers: a study of grassland in Sussex found 2.2 million individual spiders per acre, according to Ian Morton’s recent article for Country Life.
40 of those species are jumping spiders, which don’t weave webs but instead spring to catch their prey; no fewer than half a dozen are types of false widow spider, which share the fearsome markings but not the bite; and one, the cardinal spider, can grow 7 inches across (it reputedly got its name after terrifying Cardinal Wolsey in the 16th century).
But don’t worry too much. Only 14 of Britain’s species bite strongly enough to puncture human skin (we hear some of you crying ‘ONLY 14?’ in horror). And the news gets better: None is either aggressive or dangerous, let alone fatal,’ Ian writes.
Well done for making it this far. Now enjoy Ian’s pick of 10 rather incredible British spiders which you might come across in your house or garden.
Common fox spider
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Member of the Lycosidae or wolf family, this fast mover chases its prey.
Green orb-weaver spider
Small with a bright-green abdomen, it is also called the cucumber spider.
Diving bell spider
Able to live under water, this one spins a web capsule in which it traps an air bubble to breathe and lay eggs.
Giant house spider
Our second largest spider, it spins sheet-like webs and sprints across the floor at 20in per second.
A tiny body with fused head and abdomen, it has long thin legs that it may shed if attacked.
Zebra jumping spider
Menacing in black-and-white stripes, it stalks and pounces on its prey.
Most common, with 270 UK species, this spider is welcomed by the superstitious.
Tube web spider
With three groups of two eyes and iridescent green jaws, it spins its funnel-weave web in building cracks, with silken lines radiating from it.
Noble false widow spider
Due to its skull-shaped abdomen marking, it is often mistaken for the black widow, but is not dangerous.
Its flat web over a wall crevice leads to a silken tunnel, where it grabs a victim.
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