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A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders
by Joseph K H Koh
  Split-Faced Silver Spider
Argyrodes fissifrons Pickard-Cambridge 1869
close-up of female from the side
The abdomen is triangular in profile, with the spinnerets pointing downwards and the hind-end pointing backwards. Classification: Family Theridiidae, Comb-Footed Spiders.
Habitat: In the webs of Crytophora and Nephila spiders.
Female: 7-8 mm.
Male: 4-6 mm.
Distribution: Singapore (new record), Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, India, Japan.
With the exception of Argyrodes flagellum, spiders of the genus Argyrodes in Singapore live in the webs of larger spiders. They are "food stealers", helping themselves to insects trapped in the web of the host, or prey stored by the host in the web, or a freshly killed victim that is being consumed by the host. Most of these "commensals" have long and thin legs and silvery spots on the bodies. The males have grotesque-looking bumps on their head. Presumably because they are too small, the hosts appear to tolerate their presence. After mating, the male often seals the female's epigyne with a resinous plug preventing the female from further mating.

three-dimensional webMost members of the family Theridiidae have a "comb" of serrated bristles on the last segment (tarsus) of the fourth leg. The comb helps to draw sticky threads of silk from the spinnerets to wrap any prey caught in the web. When the victim is securely enveloped in silk, the spider will then approach it and bite through the silky bundle, extinguishing any further signs of struggle. The snare is an irregular three-dimensional structure.
  From "A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders" by Joseph K. H. Koh
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by British Petroleum
© 2000 Joseph K H Koh