Uloborus plumipes

This spider is not a common one and has only recently been discovered in the UK. It is found over many European countries in commercial greenhouses and is sometimes brought into houses on houseplants. Also known as the 'Feather-legged lace weaver' this spider is found in Europe, Africa and Asia. Young spiders often camoulflage themselves in a line of dead insect bodies across the center of the web, on first inspection it is difficult to tell that this is a spider at all. Sometimes this spider makes stabilimentum in its web and sometimes it doesn't, I am not sure why.

This spider like others in the genus Uloborus, lack venom glands and so they have to employ different means to kill their prey. When something lands in the web of an Uloborus the spider locates the the object by plucking diffent spokes. When it has located the prey it moves in the direction of where it thinks they prey is and shakes itelf in the web. This shaking has two functions:

 

1.To help the spider locate the prey

2. To make the prey become more tangled so it is easier for the spider to subdue.

When the spider is sure of the prey's location it will immediately wrap it up tightly in alot of silk When this is done the spider will cut the newly wrapped prey from the web. At the center of the web the spider will hold the bundle in its second and third pairs of legs and revolve it whilst drawing threads from her spinnerets with the fourth pair. Only after this second wrapping is complete does the spider bite the prey, since the spider lacks venom glands the prey is very often eaten alive.

This spider has a very distincive egg sac that can often be seen empty attatched to house plants. It is flattish, papery and brown in color and about 0.5cm long.

Above: A female making an egg sac. I will update soon with details of how she does this. The photo was taken through the side of a glass tank.

 

Above: the stablimentum in these spiders webs is variable in shape.

 

Above: A female Uloborus in atypical position at the center of her lace web.

Above: A view of the top of an Uloborus, showing the powerful first pair of legs.

Above and Below: Uloborus plumipes females can be quite variable in colour and pattern.

 

 

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