Sunday, 22 January 2012

Segestria florentina - Tube Web Spider

    Family - Segestriidae
    Genus - Segestria
    A large Tube Web Spider. Six eyes. Adults have Irridescent Green Chelicerae.
    They are restricted to Southern UK with increasing numbers and
    distribution. These impressive Spiders sit in wait in Tubular retreats in
    walls, in the Bark of Trees, even under stones. The first three pairs of
    legs point forward which they rest on 'Trip-Wires' extending from
    their retreat. If anything touches the 'wires', the Spider will speedily rush
    out and grab the prey in it's Jaws and also uses its forward pointing Legs
    to clutch the prey in an almost hand-like movement.
    The back pair of Legs act as a spring to launch at prey and to
    retreat backwards into the hidden tube web. As illustrated in this video:

    As I tweaked a Wire, she swiftly appeared at her doorway.
    Poised for the Grabbing!

    I gently moved one of her front legs with a the end of a Pencil, to which she
    stood her ground, reared up her front pair of legs and bit down on the
    Pencil tip, twice. With some force, as I could feel it through the other end of
    the Pencil.
    I was tempted to let her bite me just to feel for myself but after sending the
    above Video to Author Gordon Grice and reading his comment -
    "I've read that the bite of these is not only mechanically painful, but also
    has a toxic effect that feels like a deep stab wound for a few hours" - I am
    glad that I didn't!
    Quite a fierce Spider - the straw in the above video was considerably bigger
    and much heavier than her - it didn't deter her. I figure she bit down on it a few
    times after seeing the pencil attack. She still tried to drag it home, even though
    it wasn't prey.
    Torchlight usually makes them withdraw into their Lair, so it seems her instinct
    to attack prey is stronger than it is to hide. Definately one of my favourite
    The Hand-like Legs configuration.
    The Fangs aren't that big but the Jaws/ Chelicerae are, and open wide for
    repeated stabbing bites.

    I counted 51 Tubular Retreats with Trip Wires in a space of about 20
    square feet. I observed hundreds of them over the course of a week.
    Impressive Colonsiation I'd say. As a child in the 1970's, I was fascinated
    with Spiders. I hunted high and low for them, all over Gosport, I never
    once came across this species.
    Gosport, Hampshire

    An exciting find for me.
    Made me jump when she (I think a Juvenile Female) rushed out of her
    tubular retreat in a wall.
    Not the best photographs as I was a bit excited and in a hurry.
    Musicroom Studios
    New Cross


  1. I live on the north kent coast and i have a few of these around. My fully grown female called Sid has lived with me for a few years both inside and out and has dropped many offspring around my house and garden. She has a tube in an air brick outside when she's tarting around then she comes indoors to lay her eggs and rear her spidlets and i feed her and her kids the odd mozzie or clothes moth! Is there anything else you can tell me like average lifespan, sexing (apart from difference in size), favourite snacks, favourite music etc?!

    1. Thanks for that, Leo. Adult males will have enlarged pedipalps. I don't know their lifespan. They will eat anything that they can catch, including other spiders. It'd be worth recording your sightings with the British Arachnological Society / Spider Recording Scheme :


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