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Revision as of 16:27, 9 March 2017

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 - Pre-publication offer

WILDGuide cover.jpg

The BAS-branded and much anticipated new photographic field guide to British spiders, published by Princeton University Press in the very successful WILDGuides series, is nearing completion and due for publication in May. The 480 page book will retail at £24.95 but your can pre-order it now for just £16 (+P&P) - just click on the link below to download the pre-publication order form.

Many photographers have very generously submitted images to be considered for publication in the book. Final decisions on inclusion rest with the publishers but, whether published or not, we are immensely grateful to everyone who so generously submitted their work - we really appreciate the enormous amount of time and expertise that went into each and every shot. Royalties from publication of the book will help to fund the work of the BAS.

Scottish Spider Search

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Spiders are some of our most familiar and widespread invertebrates, but there are still big gaps in our knowledge of their distributions in Scotland. Over 400 different types of spider occur in Scotland. Most need to be examined under a microscope to identify the species, but there are some that can be identified easily without any special skills or equipment.

We need your help to find out more about four easily identified spiders.

New to Britain - Pelecopsis susannae

Nicola Prince collecting Pelecopsis susannae with a paint brush

Pelecopsis susannae, a south-west European money spider previously unrecorded in Britain, was stumbled upon by chance by Matt Prince, SRS Area Organiser for Devon, whilst looking at bryophytes in a park on the edge of Dartmoor in December. The males of this species have an inflated head region and abdominal scutum typical of the genus. In addition they have a thumb-like projection on the dorsal surface of the palp which is unknown among other British species - these can be seen in Pierre Oger's wonderful photographs of Matt's specimen. After Matt appealed for help with identification of what was clearly a new species to Britain via the ever-helpful BAS Google Group forum (open to all members), the specimen’s identity was confirmed by Peter Merrett and Robert Bosmans. Matt and his wife Nicola found that a clean, broad paint brush and tray was an effective way to check for this winter-active species on moss covered trees. You'll be able to read more about the new species in forthcoming issues of our Newsletter and our journal Arachnology.

European Arachnoloical Congress 20-25 August 2017 - University of Nottingham

ECA logo

We're delighted to announce that the next European Congress of Arachnology will be hosted by the University of Nottingham in 2017, with the BAS as joint organisers. The five-day meeting at this international conference will comprise a full schedule of talks on a wide variety of arachnological topics, together with a poster session and excursions in the local area. Accommodation is provided at the University. Preliminary information is available below - as more details become available, they will be posted on the European Society of Arachnology's website.

How to make a pooter

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Ecosapien, an environmental education consultancy based in Leeds, has produced a series of short YouTube videos for the BAS designed to encourage a new generation of arachnologists. These have largely been promoted through Social Media. The practical clips cover How to … (a) catch arachnids, (b) make a spider enclosure; (c) make a simple sweep net; (d) make a spi-pot and (e) make a simple pooter. A longer ‘Eco-talk’ video on arachnology, featuring the infectious enthusiasm of BAS honorary secretary Geoff Oxford, is available here. The final ‘Eco-talk’ is expected soon.

For those with a long-standing relationship with the humble pooter, its fascinating history, by Prof Simon Leather, can be read here

European Spider of the Year 2016 - Cyclosa conica

Cyclosa conica

Our colleagues at the European Society of Arachnology have announced Cyclosa conica as Spider of the Year for 2016. This species belongs to the Araneidae - the true orb-weavers - and is found throughout Europe, where it one of only two members of the genus Cyclosa. In the UK , where it is widespread, Cyclosa conica is our only Cyclosa species. Photo © Evan Jones

The BAS at the Rutland Birdfair 2016

BAS stand at the Birdfair 2016

August 2016 saw the Society at our fourth, very successful, Birdfair. The experts manning the stand worked flat out over the three day event, enthusing the large crowds of people drawn in by our live displays. This year a magnificent female Wasp Spider was a star of the show, together with Fen Raft Spiders, harvestmen and tiny pseudoscorpions. As always, almost every visitor had a spider story to tell, a lead-in to enthusing them further about British spiders. 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 2017, please do get in touch.

A new spider family for Britain - the Mysmenidae

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The discovery of new spider species in Britain is a fairly regular event but for the first time in a number of years we now have a completely new family of spiders for the country. Trogloneta granulum recently discovered 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.

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.

Millport Bay
BOOKING NOW - our 2017 AGM & Field weekend at Millport Field Studies Centre , 2-4 June.

Follow this link to see some of our Recent AGMs.

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.

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 2015, 7:30pm BBC 1 (Welsh version). English viewers were able to view it on i-Player soon after transmission.

Spiders in the News

This listing is of recent arachnid news from the media and from academic journals.
For our archive of older articles, go to Old News on Spiders
For more academic papers see our Links pages
Spiders news Nentwig.jpg   Horrid ground-weaver: Buglife surveys and research
Spiders news Nentwig.jpg   Taxonomic database: Spider taxonomists catch data on web
Pseudoscorp.png   Thermal biology and immersion tolerance of the Beringian pseudoscorpion Wyochernes asiaticus
Dn28559-2 800.jpg   Multiple exaggerated weapon morphs: a novel form of male polymorphism in harvestmen
Journal.pone.0142503.g001.PNG   Spider Web DNA: A New Spin on Noninvasive Genetics of Predator and Prey
Indian ladybird spider.jpg   First record of the spider genus Paraplectana Brito Capello, 1867 (Aranaea: Aranneidae: Cyrtarachninae) from India, with a description of a new species A true ladybird mimic: Image ©curiocritters

Go to archive of older articles

Latest Additions to the Library

Spider management in agroecosystems: habitat manipulation
WILSON,R. (2015) 
Survey for Semljicola caliginosis (Araneae, Linyphiidae) in the Northumberland border mires (Premininary studies)
MAMMOLA,S. & ISAIA,M. (2014) 
Niche differentiation in Meta bourneti and M.menardi (Araneae, Tetragnathidae) with notes on the life history
Many a slip: dissecting the causes of reproductive isolation in two species of Tegenaria (Agelenidae)
NYFFELER,M. & PUSEY,B.J. (2014) 
Fish predation by semi-aquatic spiders: A global pattern
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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.

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


The journal of the British Arachnological Society

Current Arachnology.jpg

Containing original research on UK and worldwide species, Arachnology is the journal of the British Arachnological Society. All papers are free online to BAS members.


Visit Cobweb Corner to read BAS articles on spiders, harvestmen and other arachnids published in the Bug Club magazine for children aged 5 to 15.

Arthropoda Selecta

This Russian journal, in English, includes many papers on arachnids. Click here for FREE downloads Arthropoda Selecta.

Featured Spider

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.

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 (the photos scroll past).

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The British Arachnological Society is a Registered Charity in England & Wales No. 260346, and in Scotland No. SC044090
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