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European Spider of the Year 2015: Buzzing Spider

Posted by David Penney on

Following on from our recent blog post about the next European Society of Arachnology Congress due to be held in the UK and as 2015 is drawing to an end, we would like to bring to your attention the identity of the European Spider of the Year 2015! This year the proud holder of this title goes to the Buzzing (or Phantom) spider Anyphaena accentuata (family Anyphaenidae).

Anyphaena accentuata Wikimedia

The Buzzing or Phantom spider Anyphaena accentuata (courtesy of Wikimedia)

It is common throughout Europe (including the UK). It prefers the stems and crowns of deciduous trees, but also occurs on bushes and conifers. Males exhibit an unusual mating behaviour. They drum with the pedipalps and the first pair of legs on the female’s retreat, while vibrating their abdomen at the same time. This creates a buzzing noise, hence the common name ‘buzzing spider’ in English.

Why was this species chosen as the spider of the year? By selecting this spider, a family which has not been nominated before could be presented. The species itself is easily recognizable by the four black marks on the abdomen and the overall pale colour (though some specimens can be considerably darker than the one shown above). It can be observed fairly frequently all year round, not only in the countryside but also sometimes in houses. Here it can, for example, be brought in with the Christmas tree. Finally, its ability to produce noise makes this spider pretty unusual.

The ‘European Spider of the Year‘ is chosen by 83 arachnologists from 26 European countries. Voting is coordinated by the Natural History Museum of Vienna, together with the Arachnologische Gesellschaft (AraGes) and the European Society of Arachnology (ESA).

You can read more about the societies involved and the formal decision process by clicking here.

Check out some of our spider related titles by clicking the covers below.

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