Main Page

From British Arachnological Society

Jump to: navigation, search
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.

A new WILDGuide to Britain's spiders - last call for images
WILDGuides logo.jpg

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. Work on the guide will be completed this winter and so we are appealing for further contributions of stunning photographs to illustrate it to be submitted by the end of December.

Successful contributors will receive a copy of the book as well as full acknowledgement of their contribution; the royalties from publication of the book will help to fund the work of the BAS. For more information on how you can help, and for an updated list of the images needed, please CLICK HERE.

Six legs too many but spiders star at the Birdfair, 21-23 August

BAS stand at the Birdfair 2015
Record crowds at this year's Birdfair meant that the BAS stand was busier than ever. With noble false widows, large house spiders and fen raft spiders among many species on display, and visitors ranging from enthusiasts to arachnophobes seeking a cure, our fantastic volunteers had an exhausting but very rewarding three days. A big welcome to all who joined us as new members during the event.

'In with the Spiders'
front cover

From 23 May 2015 a major new exhibition, 'In with the Spiders', opens at ZSL London Zoo.

As the only exhibit of its kind in Europe, it will bring people face-to-face with amazing arachnids from around the world in a 'completely unique and immersive experience' within the Zoo’s popular B.U.G.S exhibit. With their long and hugely successful track-record of curing arachnophobia through the Friendly Spider Programme, as well as involvement in conservation programmes in the UK and abroad, ZSL London Zoo are confident that visitors will leave the exhibit with a new-found appreciation of arachnids. Click here to find out more and book your tickets.

Harvestmen - new resource available
front cover
front cover
front cover

Just released - a major new resource for harvestman enthusiasts and recorders. The BAS is grateful for funding from OPAL which has enabled us to produce the first English translation of the very important Dutch account of this group, Hay Wijnhoven’s De Nederlandse hooiwagens (Opiliones). The new translation is intended as a supplement to the Dutch publication which users will need for access to the illustrations. The pdf is a FREE BAS resource - the original publication can be purchased from Pemberley books.

CLICK HERE for more information and to download.

Spider families of the World
front cover

A major new two-volume work by John Murphy, illustrated by Mike Roberts, is due to be published by the BAS in mid-March.

The volumes combine Mike Roberts's renowned line drawings with John Murphy's extensive knowledge of worldwide spiders in this important new atlas of spiders of the world. Typical genera of every family of spiders are illustrated, together with details of eye pattern, tarsal claws, setae types and, especially, spinneret and spigot morphology. The authors also present a groundbreaking new classification scheme based on the evolution of the spinning organs. This significant work is destined to become a classic reference for all arachnologists and anyone interested in spiders of the world.

CLICK HERE for more information and to purchase.

Members' Area
Callilepis nocturna found over the 2013 AGM weekend

BOOKING NOW - our 2015 AGM & Field weekend at Castle Head in the southern Lake District, 29- 31 May.

Follow this link to see some photos from and a summary of the 2014 AGM and Field Weekend in Kindrogan, 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.

A new spider family for Britain - the Mysmenidae
Trogloneta granulum under a microscope
The discovery of new spider species in Britain is a fairly regular event but the discovery of a species from a family new to Britain is much less common. Trogloneta granulum recently discovery of at two sites in Wales, is Britain's first member of the Mysmenidae, a family of tiny orb-web spiders that includes only 23 genera and 123 species worldwide. Read more ...

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.

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.

Join BAS Newsletter editor Richard Gallon taking TV presenter Iolo Williams on a guided spider tour of Wepre Park in Iolo's Great Welsh Parks, aired on Monday 19th January, 7:30pm BBC 1 (Welsh version). English viewers will be able to view it on i-Player soon after transmission.

Spiders News
This listing of arachnid news is updated regularly.
(Last updated 24th. April 2015)

For our archive of articles older than six months, go to Old News on Spiders
For more academic papers see our Links pages:
  Unexpected complexity in a spider's tiny brain
Read the original paper in the Journal Current Biology
Webs hum.jpg Spiders' webs hum with information
Read the original paper in the Journal Advanced Materials
JLinSoccover.gif Vertical asymmetries in orb webs
N horridus 0114.jpeg Rare spider under threat from housing estate plan, conservation charity warns
Blackwidow1.jpg Why Black Widow Spider Venom Is So Potent
BlackWidow2.jpg World's deadliest spiders a toxic myth?
Spider-venom-honeybees-s2048x1360-p-600x398.jpg Can spider venom save the Honeybee?
Read the original article in Proceedings B of the Royal Society
Journal.pone.Dp fish.png Fish-eating spiders that eat prey twice their size discovered across the world
Read the original paper in PLOS ONE
Colour-coded-spiders.-Lena-Grinsted.jpg Spiders May Have Personalities, and Some Are Bolder Than Others
Read the original paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Go to archive of articles older than six months

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Follow us on Facebook BritishSpiders

Follow us on Twitter @BritishSpiders

Spider and Harvestman Recording Schemes

Find out how your sightings of some easily recognised 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.

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'll receive our regular Newsletter and Journal, direct 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.

Arachnology, The Journal of the British Arachnological Society
Current Arachnology.jpg

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, 2015 Website created by Salticus Webhosting
The British Arachnological Society is a Registered Charity in England & Wales No. 260346, and in Scotland No. SC044090