identification of spiders often requires examination of reproductive
organs and other minute structures under a binocular microscope
(20x-80x), but you should not allow this to deter you from marvelling
at the diversity of spider fauna in Singapore. All you need
is to be observant in the field and you will soon learn to recognise
the main ecological and behavioural groups to which the spiders
will note that some spiders are sedentary and ensnare their prey with
webs, whereas others are hunters which do not build any webs. The
web-builders can be further divided: some build orb-webs (left), others
spin sheet-webs, while others build three-dimensional webs of different
complexities (right). Among the hunters are those active in the daytime
and those active at night. Some hunt among the foliage while others
forage close to the ground. Some hunters are fast runners which actively
chase prey, but others are sluggish creatures which wait patiently
to ambush them.
You will need to learn some unavoidable scientific terms of the various
parts of the spider's body so that you can understand description given
in this and other books on the identification of spiders. However, this
should not be difficult with the aid of the these
diagrams of the spider parts.
Measurements given on this website refer to the body length of adult spiders,
excluding jaws and legs.
will need to distinguish between male and female spiders. Whereas
the palps of females and immature males are leg-like, each palp of
a mature male (right) is usually swollen at its terminal segment and
is equipped with some complex structures where the semen is stored
and subsequently discharged when it is inserted into the genital opening
of the female during mating. The genital opening of the female is
located on the underside of the abdomen just in front of the epigastric
groove. The position is often indicated by a hardened (sclerotised)
structure called the epigyne. The epigyne may come in the form of
a simple or complicated pit, plate or hook.
Spiders with neither modified palps nor epigyne are likely to be juveniles.
However, you should be aware that in a few families of spiders, the mature
females do not have any well-developed epigyne.