Black Lace-Weaver Spider: How to Identify

Amaurobius ferox, sometimes known as the black lace-weaver, is a common nocturnal spider belonging to the family Amaurobiidae and genus Amaurobius.

The fascinating thing about this spider?

After hatching, the Black lace-weaver is a matriphagous species, meaning their offspring devour her in cannibalism.

Black Lace-Weaver spider
Close up macro on soft focus background of a female Black Lace Weaver Spider standing guard over her egg sack, spider silk covering the ground where she protects her precious hoard. Photo credit:

Black Lace-weaver: Identification.

This species of black lace-weaver is distinctive for its size, with females ranging from .4–.6 inches in body length and males slightly smaller at .3-.4 inches. Presenting a dark color palette including black, brown, dark red, and tan tones, the abdomen has light yellow markings that resemble an eerie skull mask or ghoulish pattern.

Habitat and distribution of the Black Lace-weaver

In springtime, adult males of the black lace-weaver species are likely to be discovered indoors while searching for a mate. But, conversely, adult females can be found inside or outside year round! These creatures generally favor dark and humid places like underneath logs, in cellars, and in crevices tucked away beneath stones or worn-out walls.

The majestic Black lace-weaver spider is native to Europe and can be found throughout the continent. Yet, it has been specifically introduced into North America, New Zealand, and some Eastern European countries such as Turkey. Unfortunately, it cannot survive in Northern Europe due to its frigid temperatures.

Black lace-weaver webs.

The black lace-weaver is renowned for creating an intricate cribellate web to capture prey and serve as a haven. This species receives its name from the woolly texture of the silk, which stems from fragile yet incredibly adhesive fibers. With this unique construction, it’s no surprise that many consider the web spun by these creatures simply exquisite.

The black lace-weaver is particularly inclined to construct its webs on vertical surfaces, typically forming a befuddled jumble of threads that encase a circular shelter running into some crack. As soon as the web has been spun up freshly, it appears delicate and blueish in hue and is highly adhesive.

Generally speaking, this species weaves its most intricate webs at night, yet they will react promptly if any insect winds up caught in the net irrespective of time.

Black Lace-weaver mating and reproduction.

During late summer and autumn, male Black lace-weaver spiders wander around to find a female spider who they can mate with. They enter the female’s webbing and spin special silk threads to advertise their presence to attract her attention. The females then lay their eggs in a white sac which is usually lens-shaped, ranging from 1/2 inch up to 1 inch wide.

This egg sac contains anywhere from 60-180 eggs inside that she guards until the eggs hatch. Females typically live for two years, whereas males only survive for about a few months at most due to their shorter lifespan span compared to females.

Cannibalism of the mother.

From the moment of hatching, Black lace-weaver mothers ensure their young are well taken care of – this species is matriphagous.

After a three-week incubation period when she’s kept close to her egg sac, Mom breaks it open and reveals up to 135 newborns that start by consuming trophic eggs laid by their mother in only a few days!

As they enter their first week, these baby spiders begin molting, bringing them closer to maturity; they will then cannibalize their mom. Genuinely remarkable how nature operates!

It has been established that the cannibalistic process is rapidly completed within several hours, during which mothers and offspring seem to show mutual stimulation. Precisely, maternal solicitation behavior activates and unifies their young in particular.

The mother’s reaction to her young, be it concerned, tolerant or predatory, seems to depend on her reproductive state. Additionally, the attitude of the offspring towards their mother in terms of cannibalism or fleeing can vary depending upon their developmental stage as well as how she interacts with them.

Further recommended reading about spiders.

Spider pages: Learn how to identify and avoid these spiders.

Black Spiders: How to identify them.

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Peppered jumping spiders.

Spotted ground swift spider.

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Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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