The Dwarf Spider (Erigone atra) is an arachnid in the Linyphiidae family of dwarf spiders.
The Dwarf Spider is black or dark-brown. Its carapace (shell) is dark and its abdomen usually has a black marking. The male has a more pointed abdomen than the female. It has eight brown legs covered with hairs. It has tooth-like pedipalps near its mouth. It has two rows of four eyes to total eight eyes. The back row of eyes is straight and the front row of eyes is slightly curved.
It grows to 1-3 centimetres (up to one inch) in length.
It is common in Europe, Central Asia, Asia, and North America. It lives in a wide range of habitats, but mostly in grasslands.
It is aeronautical because it travels by ballooning or kiting over large distances using its web threads of spider silk, called gossamers, to float on air currents. The spider silk is released from its spinnerets. This is called aerial dispersal.
It feeds on aphids, springtails, gnats, and crop pests that it catches in its web. It builds small sheet webs in the grass close to the ground.
The female has egg sacs that contain her eggs. She dies within 10 days of making her last egg sac. The clutch size is 12-14 eggs inside each sac. The eggs hatch into spiderlings. They grow faster in warm weather. This is called temperature-dependent growth.
Location of photographs: Paris, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM