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Welcome to the Website of the British Arachnological Society (BAS). Here you can find information on all things arachnological. Our emphasis is on British spiders but we also include other arachnids, particularly Harvestmen (opilionids), Pseudoscorpions and Scorpions.

The BAS is Britain's only charity devoted exclusively to the study and understanding of arachnids. It is run entirely by volunteers, with no paid staff.

The BAS at the Rutland Birdfair 2014

BAS stand at the Birdfair 2014

They may have six legs too many, but spiders certainly pulled to crowds at this year's Birdfair. The BAS stand, which included a spider help desk, spi-pot making and live exhibits, was crowded with enthusiastic visitors throughout the three-day event. Our spectacular fen raft spiders, equally large house spiders and ubiquitous daddy long-legs spiders were all great subjects for discussing everything from spider conservation to arachnophobia and changing distributions. We were even able to cure a few arachnophobes!

As the UK's most important showcase for wildlife organisations and businesses, the Birdfair is a great venue for engaging more people with spiders. If you are able to help with sponsorship of a BAS stand at the Birdfair in 2015, please do get in touch.

A new WILDGuide to Britain's spiders

The BAS is working with Princeton University Press on a new photographic field guide to British spiders, to be published in the very successful WildGuides series. We are appealing for contributions of stunning photographs to illustrate it - for more information on how to help please CLICK HERE.

False Widow Spiders
False Widow Spiders

Please see our comprehensive pages on False Widow Spiders and Frequently Asked Questions

There are photographs to compare with any spiders you think may be a False Widow, as well as detailed information on their distribution and habits and bite.

Please do not be scared by recent coverage in the media, much of which is misleading and plainly wrong!

For other common and harmless species that you can find in and around your home and garden, please check the section further down this Main page - Some Common British Species - click on the photos for more information and pictures.

Members' Area
Callilepis nocturna found over the 2013 AGM weekend

Our 2013 AGM & Field weekend took place over 31 May - 2 June.
Follow this link to see some photos from and a summary of the 2013 AGM and Field Weekend in South Devon.
(2014 - Kindrogan in Scotland.)

There is now a link in the Members' Area to the BAS online Discussion Forum. This is where members, in the UK and around the world, can discuss anything of arachnological interest (eg. ID help, ideas, Q&A, advice, notices).

Local Events and Training

Check out our upcoming local workshops, field trips and shows.

Go to Events page

Our Regional Coordinators and groups organise local field trips and training workshops. They also attend public events, to demonstrate and identify arachnids. These are arranged throughout the year, so keep checking back for new activities near you. You don't have to be a member to attend most of these events (although we might encourage you to join!).

Please ensure you book in advance; spaces on the workshops may be limited.

Support the BAS

UK Membership of the BAS is only £20 /year and is the ideal way to learn more about spiders and other arachnids. You will receive our Members Handbook, detailing 'how to get started', our regular Newsletter and Journal, direct local help from our network of mentors and coordinators, lots of online information, and other benefits.

A Donation will help our work raising the public understanding of arachnids and conserving rare British spiders.

Spider research in UK universities
Nottingham 2.jpg University of Nottingham, Spider Lab; Sara Goodacre
Nottingham Spider Lab, BBC article and video
A range of evolutionary, population and conservation genetic studies, including dispersal-strategy and the persistence of population differentiation in money spider meta-populations; mating behaviour and sex ratio bias in tree dwelling spiders; genetic tools to study and manage endangered raft spider populations.
Oxford 2.jpg Oxford University, Oxford Silk Group; Fritz Vollrath
Studies the biology of silks aiming to unravel their evolution, ecology, physics and chemistry; spider web engineering and behaviour; metabolic costs of natural silk production and the ecological costs (and benefits) of the commercial silk industry.
Huntsman ani 2.gif

University of Manchester; David Penney

Research interests include extant and fossil spider taxonomy and systematics; evolutionary history of spiders; reconstruction of fossil ecosystems; the timing of the radiations of the major extant spider families.

BAS and UK Arachnology – In the Media

Media coverage of UK Arachnology and the BAS, including UK conservation schemes supported by the BAS, and media articles / pieces to which the BAS has contributed or advised.

Spiders in the News and on the Web
This listing of arachnids news is updated regularly.
Please add this page to your favourites and come back soon.
For archive of articles older than three months, go to Old News on Spiders
For more academic papers see our new Links pages:
Links/Papers 2012 (in non-arachnological journals)
(Last updated 15th. July 2014.)
Spider fossil.jpg Ancient arachnid 'walks again'
Giantspider pair.jpg Biggest Spider Fossil Now Has a Mate — But It's Complicated (LiveScience)
Ste nobilis.jpg Buglife and Anxiety UK charities expose spider scare stories
J Cl T.jpg John Cloudsley-Thompson - The Last Word on Radio 4
The Telegraph- obituary
The Guardian- obituary
Loureedia.jpg Lou Reed, Velvet spider
Flo chel.jpg Segestria florentina in Exeter on Radio 4.
Spider Recording Scheme page.
Ste nobilis.jpg Spider bites and media hype?
...more from The Independent
...but, really, don't panic..., honestly, don't panic.
Some sense from The Guardian
...and some from The Independent
Wired Blog
Still not convinced? Follow this link and scroll down to "Myths about "Dangerous spiders".
Nerves.jpg Ancient arachnid ancestor
Science Daily
National Geographic
Cheir.jpg Spiders deploy airbags!?
Pis coc.jpg Females prefer gift-bearing males
Prograd.jpg The natural history of the enigmatic Progradungula...!
Link to article.
Balloon.jpg Ballooning spiders get a static lift.
Link to article.
Argiope.jpg Wasp spider found on RSPB nature reserve
EEYAH.jpg Official - Entomologists are wimps
Ent Soc of America article
Milking venom.jpg Spider aids crops – University of Queensland radio interview
Spider app.jpg House spider survey
Society of Biology App
Spid of Aus.jpg Barbara York Main - Australian spider woman - ABC radio interview
Toothbrush.jpg Sonic toothbrush attracts spiders...
Web 2.jpg Spider silk and nanotubes for sensitive sensors
Guardian link...
...another link
Crickets.jpg Spider-cricket personality interaction...
University of Pittsburgh link
Scorpion fossil.jpg Oldest known land-living animal from Gondwana
Brown rec eyes.jpg The secret of Brown recluse venom
Meta.jpg Cave spiders found at Norwich Research Park - BAS investigates!
Stabilimentum.jpg Watch a spider spin a stabilimentum.
Eupalaestrus.jpg Legs are handy for more than just walking....
H adansoni.jpg Jumping spiders use dragline to control their landing.
Wired's take
Roy Soc abstract
Stego.jpg Social spiders
Science News article
Vicaria.jpg Some exquisite Singapore spiders
Nicky Bay's macro photo blog
Daily Mail's take
Ctenus mon.jpg Hobbit actor's namesake?
Chaarged fly.jpg Webs use static charge to attract prey.
- UC Berkeley
- Science Daily
- Original paper
Spider bite.jpg Spider bites?
Dark fishing.jpg Post-mating death.
- Science
- Original paper
Parawixia.jpg How communal spiders keep the peace.
C cycle.jpg Predators' effect on ecosystems.
Huntsman.jpg Huntsman found in Glastonbury greengrocer's shop.
Qmonos.jpg Artificial spider silk - again.
- I have seen the future and it's ...spidery-silky-ish?
...and Spiber agrees.
Siam aranea.jpg Moth mimics spider.
- Original paper
Deinopid.jpg Micro monsters on Sky
Eating tarantula.jpg Nutritious tarantulas?
- and insects
Delena.jpg The advantages of social living for spiders
- Original paper
Cyclosa octo.jpg Web tailored to prey density
- Original paper (abstract)
Mysmena.jpg Miniature spiders found in Panda sanctuary...
- Science Daily's take
Scopulae.jpg Sticky hairs or web?
- PLOS ONE paper

Go to archive of articles older than three months

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Spider and Harvestman Recording Schemes

Find out how your sightings of some easily recognisable arachnids can contribute to the Spider and Harvestman Recording Schemes

Go to SRS page

Using records submitted by BAS members and the public, these national recording schemes map the UK distribution of spider and harvestman species and provide details on their ecology and annual life cycles. This information with distribution maps is here.

Arachnology, The Journal of the British Arachnological Society

Previously Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society, the BAS journal has now changed its name...

The current issue includes papers on the spiders of the Falkland Islands and a new species of the African spider Lathrothele

Containing original research on UK and worldwide species, Arachnology, The Journal of the British Arachnological Society includes descriptions of new species, behaviour, ecology and biology.

Download a free sample issue here.

All papers (from Volume 1, 1969) are here free online to BAS members .


The Bug Club covers all the invertebrates and is a great way to learn about the different types and how to study them. It is aimed at children aged 5 to 15. The Bug Club magazine includes BAS articles on spiders, harvestmen and other arachnids.

Arthropoda Selecta

This Russian journal, in English, includes many papers on arachnids. These are all here free online to everyone - just click Arthropoda Selecta and start reading!

Featured Spider
E ovata redimita.jpg

Our featured species are Enoplognatha ovata and E. latimana, two very similar members of our "comb-footed" spiders (Theridiidae). At this time of the year E. ovata is a common spider in a wide range of habitats, the female often rolling up bramble leaves to lay her eggs whilst E. latimana seems more restricted in its distribution.

Click on this link Enoplogantha ovata latimana for much more information on these fascinating spiders.

Photo Gallery

Check out the Photo gallery for pictures of UK and foreign arachnids

Some common British Species

Click on a photo to learn more about the species.

Ara dia pic.jpg
Zygiella x-notata PN.jpg
Teg gigantea pici.jpg
Pho pha pic.jpg
Sal sce pic.jpg
Met seg pic.jpg
Liny triangularis.jpg
Pisaura mirabilis with cocoon.jpg
Ara qua pici.jpg

Goto top © British Arachnological Society, 2014 Website created by Salticus Webhosting
The British Arachnological Society is a Registered Charity in England & Wales No. 260346, and in Scotland No. SC044090