In Iceland, you can find beautiful landscapes and amazing scenery of all kinds. Even with its beauty that does not mean Iceland is free from terrifying animals, and while there are no snakes that live in the country, there are plenty of spiders. This article will cover 8 spiders found in Iceland, and the interesting things about them.
In Iceland, there are no spiders that have potent venom. Spider bites are usually harmless, with the majority giving similar effects as a bee sting, or even being milder. You should only worry about a spider bite if you are allergic to its venom, or if one of the few spiders in the world with medically significant venom bites you. Let’s take a look at 8 spiders found in Iceland.
1. Common House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum)
Common house spiders are one of the world’s most common spiders and are found in Iceland. They are members of the tangle web Theridiidae family and build a messy tangle of webs to live in. This spider lives almost anywhere from your kitchen, to your basement. They make their webs inside man-made structures, and if outdoors they live under debris.
The abdomen of the common house spider is bulbous, and they have spindly legs. They have a white or cream coloring, with a tan mottled pattern covering them. They have a body size ranging between 0.15 to 0.24 inches. The mottled coloring covering them helps these spiders blend into their habitats.
Common house spiders are not dangerous, and while you may not want spiders in your home, they can help you get rid of pest insects. This spider builds its web in places with lots of insect traffic, so getting rid of its prey will also make it less likely to find spiders in your home.
2. Common Strech Spider (Tetragnatha extensa)
Iceland is located in the Northern Hemisphere, which includes around 54 countries in total. The common stretch spiders range mainly covers the Northern Hemisphere, and they live in coastal vegetated areas and rocky forest habitats. This species is active in the summer and fall months, and prefer moist environments.
Stretch spiders are a type of long-jawed orbweaver, and are named after their legs which stretch out to the sides of their body. They typically have a body length ranging from 0.35 to 0.43 inches. Common stretch spiders have spindly legs, and an elongated abdomen, with tan or yellowish coloring.
Common stretch spiders build orb-shaped webs, used to catch small insects like mosquitoes and flies. They wait in their webs with their legs stretched out, waiting for insects to fall into their silk. Parasitic larvae and birds are this spider’s main predators. They are seen most often in the spring months.
3. Star-bellied Orbweaver (Acanthepeira stellata)
Iceland is one place where star-bellied orb weaver spiders are found. They are also seen across North America and live in vegetated, moist habitats. Star-bellied orbweavers, like other species in the orbweaver family, build orb-shaped webs, supported by low-lying vegetation, or man-made structures.
This spider gets its name from the star-like spikes that protrude from its body. They have around 12 spikes coming out of their abdomens. Male and female spiders look very similar, but males of this species are smaller, with longer legs. Star-bellied orbweavers have a smaller body size ranging between 0.19 to 0.59 inches. They have tan coloring, with a mottled pattern, and bands on their legs.
Star-bellied orbweavers are not dangerous, and their venom is very mild. They are beneficial since they feed on small, flying, insect pests. The spikes on this orbweaver make them less palatable to predators like birds or lizards.
4. Marbled Orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus)
The marbled orbweaver is one of the many spiders found in Iceland. They live in moist vegetated habitats, with lots of tall weeds, and trees. They often make their webs near water, since that is where they can find lots of insects. Orbweavers not only use their webs to catch bugs, but also to catch water droplets for them to drink.
Marbled orbweavers have other names, such as pumpkin spiders, or orange spiders, since their abdomens are large and plump and usually orange. The pattern on this spider’s abdomen is marbled. Their color varies greatly from orange, black, white, or brown. Small hairs cover their legs, which also have bands on them. This species is not harmful, and are a fun spider to watch catch insects in the fall.
5. Common Crab Spider (Xysticus cristatus)
The common crab spider is a type of ground crab spider found in Iceland. This spider is a member of the Thomisidae crab family. Forests, meadows, gardens, and other similar habitats are where they live. This species has tan coloring, which helps them blend into the dirt, dry leaves, and wooden surfaces.
Common crab spiders and other crab spiders get their names from their crab-like body and movements. This species has front legs longer than the rest, and dark brown markings on its abdomen. They are capable of walking in all directions like crabs.
Common crab spiders are sit-and-wait predators, using their camouflage to hide from incoming predators. This spider uses its strong front legs to grab prey, and inject them with venom to neutralize them. Crab spiders are harmless to humans, and bites cause very mild symptoms.
6. Barn Funnel Weaver (Tegenaria domestica)
Iceland is one area where the barn funnel weaver lives. They also inhabit most parts of the world. Found often on barns, this spider builds its webs on man-made structures like houses, fences, or even in thick vegetation. Barn funnel weavers build silk sheet webs, with a funnel retreat to hide in.
Barn funnel weavers are a rare sight since they largely hide away in their funnel retreat. They have a size ranging between 0.35 to 0.45 inches, with long legs. Barn funnel weavers are tan, with dark chevron markings appearing on their abdomen. They are covered in thick hairs which help them sense vibrations in their web.
The web of this spider is used to detect incoming prey like small insects. Their messy webs trap their prey, and they launch out of their funnel retreat to quickly take down their meal. If spotted funnel web spiders will quickly go back into their home, as they also use their funnel to avoid predators.
7. Pirate Otter-spider (Pirata piraticus)
One wolf spider that lives in Iceland is the pirate otter spider. This species lives near water like ponds, lakes, and small streams. They enjoy living in moist environments like wet meadows, or woodlands. Iceland is not the only region in which this spider lives; they also make homes in Europe, Central Asia, and China.
Pirate otter-spiders have a body size of around 0.15 to 0.35 inches large. This species is brown, with light green legs, and thick hairs covering them. White spots appear on this spider’s abdomen, and they have a white stripe running on the sides of its body.
What makes this spider unique is their ability to quickly walk on water like a fishing spider. Pirate otter spiders use their speed and water-walking abilities to escape predators and catch small aquatic prey.
8. European Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus)
The European garden spider is the same as the common garden spider. They are the largest spider in Iceland. This species is a member of the orbweaver family and is native to Europe. They not only live in Iceland and other European regions, but they have managed to grow their range to reach North America.
Females of these spiders are larger than males, like most other orbweavers. In general, the European garden spider has a body size between 0.22 to 0.79 inches. Tan in color, they have large abdomens, with spindly legs. Thick hairs cover them, allowing, them to feel the vibrations in their webs. They have a white cross pattern on their abdomen, which is why some call them the cross orbweaver.
This spider is found in gardens, grasslands, and other vegetated areas. Females build large circular webs to live in which are used for catching flying insects. European garden spiders feed on animals like flies, wasps, and butterflies. They ambush their prey and wrap them up in silk to eat.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © RECEP_OZTURK/Shutterstock.com
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