Tenuiphantes sp. formerly Lepthyphantes sp.  (LINYPHIIDAE)

The genus Lepthyphantes had 21 individual species that were resident in Britain. A new genus of Tenuiphantes was suggested in 1996, to which seven of these 21 species were transferred. These small spiders vary between about 1.8 and 4 mm in length, and have a pattern of black chevrons against a lighter background on their abdomen. Differentiating between species using a light microscope is difficult, on account of the similarity of these features between some of the species and also because of their small size. On an SEM the problem is orientating the pedipalps in the same orientation as used for the drawing in the references. Viewers are welcome to suggest alternative identifications.


Head of a female Tenuiphantes tenuis. Chelicerae of a male Tenuiphantes flavipes. Note the "stridulating ridges" down each outside edge. Spinnerets of Tenuiphantes zimmermani, oblique view
Left Pedipalp (male sexual organ) of Tenuiphantes zimmermani. Left Pedipalp (male sexual organ) of Tenuiphantes flavipes. Abdomen of Tenuiphantes tenuis showing epigyne and spinnerets.

Epigyne (female sexual organ) of Tenuiphantes tenuis Epigyne of Tenuiphantes zimmermani. Tarsal claw of Tenuiphantes zimmermani. Linyphiidae use webs to catch their prey, and as such have a central hook-like claw, (just visible) for grabbing the web.