N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Atypus piceus (Sulzer, 1776)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Atypus piceus (Sulzer, 1776)
Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Aranea picea Sulzer, 1776, Aranea subterranea Roemer, 1789; Atypus sulzeri Latreille, 1806, Atypus beckii O. P.-Cambridge,1875;


: Fruška gora (Komesarovac), 2010      
Picture from: © Savic Dragisa 2010
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 1 Body length: about 12 mm, about 16 mm (Nentwig at all, 2003) This is a very primitive spider species with orthognath position of the chelicerae (basic segments parallel forwards, the fangs almost parallel). No significant difference in a male and female colorization, only in body size. Both sexes are black or dark – brown with no pattern. Have very strong and long fangs. Prosoma wide and flattened with 8 eyes arranged in two groups. Posterior pair of spinnerets very long and segmented.


According to Platnick (2010) this species could be found in Europe to Moldavia and Iran. But in Fauna Europaea stands that some findings in Europe are doubtful. It is not recorded in England, Spain, Portugal an entire north Europe (van Helsdingen, 2010).


This primitive creature is very hard to find. It lives underground in silk tube, but also make a special silk catch tube above the ground, that looks like a glove finger. In that web spider sits and wait. Any fly and other insect that lend or stand on the web could be bitten and dragged thru the silk inside the web. Most of life spiders spend within the tube, and wandering activity is connected with dispersing and seeking for the female. When he finds the female, they spend few months together, and mating occurs within the tube. Female has 60 – 170 offspring pre year. They need 4 years to become sexually mature, but female could live up to 8 years. Usually could be found in dry open fields, heathlands and rocky slopes.


Haplogyne spiders (very primitive genital structure of female and male. Female has no epigyne) Male palp : palpal organs small and simple. Vulva: with 5 – 11 receptacula seminis (Spermathecae) for more details please see this spider key: further details (Nentwig et al. 2010)


It could be easy confused with A. affinis or A. muralis. Detailed inspection of spinnerets; presents or absents of Metatarsal IV spine, and structure of palp and vulva should be done.

Importance for humans:

no data

Worth knowing:


Helsdingen, P. van 2010. Araneae. Fauna Europaea version 2.2., http://www.faunaeur.org [online 25 Oct 2010].
Nentwig W., A. Hänggi, C. Kropf & T. Blick 2003. Spinnen Mitteleuropas/Central European Spiders. An internet identification key. http://www.araneae.unibe.ch Version of 8.12.2003 [online 25 Oct 2010].
Platnick N. I. 2010. The world spider catalog, version 11.0. American Museum of Natural History, online at http://research.amnh.org/entomology/spiders/catalog/index.html [online 25 Oct 2010].
Savic´ D. 2010. Nature Photography by Dragiša Savic´ online at http://www.naturefg.com/index.html [online 25 Oct 2010].

Publication data:

Grbic Gordana: 2010.12.03
Grbic Gordana: 2010.12.06
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.03
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.04
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.07
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.10
Document reviewed by:
not reviewed: 2011.04.10
Document released by:
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.10