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Glossary of terms

Abdomen
This is the rear part of the spider body. It contains among other things the heart, respiratory system, part of the digestive tract and reproductive organs.

Carapace
This is the front part of the spider body. It contains among other things the brains, venom glands and part of the digestive organs.

Chelicerae
These are the jaws of the spider. The fangs are located at the bottom of these jaws.

Clypeus
The clypeus is the region between the major anterior eyes and the top of the chelicerae. This area is also known as the forehead.

Coxa (plural: coxae)
This is the upper segment of the spiders leg. It is also referred to as the hip.

Embolus
This is a slender part of the male palp. The spider uses it to bring sperm into the genital opening of the female.

Epigyne
This is the sclerotized, external part of the genital opening of the female. The shape and construction is species-specific.

European Black Widow (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus)
This spider is related to the famous (and notorious) American and Australian Black Widow. She is a little less dangerous than her relatives.

Femur (plural: femora)
This is the upper long segment of the spiders leg, also known as the upper leg. The short hip is located above this segment.

Cardiac mark
This is an elongated spot at the front side on top of the abdomen of some spiders. The spot is called this way because the heart is located underneath.

Cribellate silk threads
These are the woolly threads created by cribellate spiders. These spiders have a cribellum or sieve plate on top of the spinnerets, with which very thin spinning threads can be made. Because of the thinness of these threads (about 0.015 µm) the web looks blueish. These threads are being combed over the web, with use of the calamistrum. This is a kind of comb, located on the third or fourth pair of legs.

Carding
Some spiders have a cribellum or sieve plate on top of the spinnerets, with which very thin spinning threads can be made. Because of the thinness of these threads (about 0.015 µm) the web looks blueish. These threads are being combed over the web, with use of the calamistrum. This is a kind of comb, located on the third or fourth pair of legs. This combing is called carding.

Cribellate spiders
These spiders have a cribellum or sieve plate on top of the spinnerets, with which very thin spinning threads can be made. Because of the thinness of these threads (about 0.015 µm) the web looks blueish. These threads are being combed over the web, with use of the calamistrum. This is a kind of comb, located on the third or fourth pair of legs.

Cribellate wool
This is the whole of woolly threads created by cribellate spiders. These spiders have a cribellum or sieve plate on top of the spinnerets, with which very thin spinning threads can be made. Because of the thinness of these threads (about 0.015 µm) the web looks blueish. These threads are being combed over the web, with use of the calamistrum. This is a kind of comb, located on the third or fourth pair of legs.

Macaronesia
Also known as the Macaron Islands. These consist of the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, the Azores, Madeira including Porto Santo and Ilhas Desertas and Selvagens.

Metatarsus (plural: metatarsi)
This is, from top to bottom, the sixth and penultimate segment of a spiders leg. It is also referred to as the midfoot.

Palps (formally: pedipalpae)
These are the two small ‘front legs’ of the spider. The males use them to bring their sperm into the female. In the males they are often larger and thicker. Also, they are species-specific; they fit like a key in a lock. They also have a function in feeding and movement of the spider.

Patella (plural: patellae)
This is, from top to bottom, the fourth segment of a spiders leg. It is also referred to as the kneepad.

Petiolus
The petiolus, also called pedicel or ‘abdomen stem’ , is the connecting piece between the carapace and the abdomen. The intestines, nerves and blood vessels running through it.

Pair of legs I
This is the front pair of legs of the spider.

Pair of legs II
This is, from the front, the second pair of legs of the spider.

Pair of legs III
This is, from the front, the third pair of legs of the spider.

Pair of legs IV
This is the rear pair of legs of the spider.

Rastellum
This is a row of solid spines on the inside of the chelicerae of tarantula-like families (Mygalomorphae). The spiders use this structure to dig their burrows.

Scutum
This is a sclerotized, often shiny plate on the rear body of some (male) spiders.

Spinnerets
These protrusions are located on the rear of the spider body. Through these organs, the spider silk comes out, which is made in the silk glands. The size and shape is often family-specific or even genus-specific.

Stabilimentum
This is a silken band or spiral with a zigzag pattern in the centre of orb webs. The function is still unclear; possibilities are camouflage, attraction of prey, defense or as a signal to birds so they do not fly through the web. The function may be species-specific.

Sternum
This is the underside of the front body of the spider. In some spider species, it has a distinct pattern with which the species can be identified.

Tarantism
Alleged poisoning by the bite of Lycosa tarantula, first described in the 11th century. The ‘illness’, associated with a fierce dance rage, occured mainly in the south of Italy from the 15th to 17th century. A cause is not known, but it was possibly the heat (it always occured in summer). Or it was a hysterical phenomenon related to the dance craze in the Middle Ages, with which it was sometimes confused as well. The dance, which was seen as a treatment, is called ‘Tarantella’ and exists in many variations.

Tarsus (plural: tarsi)
This is, from top to bottom, the seventh and last segment of a spiders leg. It is also referred to as the foot.

Tibia (plural: tibiae)
This is, from top to bottom, the fifth segment of a spiders leg. It is also referred to as the shin.

Tibial apophysis
This protrusion or protrusions on the tibia of the male palp is/are probably intended to position and secure the male palp during mating.