Tube web spider
If you see a tube web you can entice the spider to reveal itself by gently touching the radiating trip-lines with a small stick or piece of grass. This will only work in the evening or at night as the spider is nocturnal.
Female tube web spiders range from 13-22mm and males are 10-15mm long. They are fairly thin and long with dark colouring. The front three pairs of legs face forward and the rear pair faces backwards. They have large iridescent green jaws that reflect light when illuminated by a torch.
An introduced species, these spiders are only found in the south of England and Wales, and in the vicinity of ports - where they may be very abundant. It isn't known when these spiders were introduced but it is thought that they originated from the Mediterranean region.
They live in old walls, under stones and under loose bark.
Tube web spiders hunt nocturnal insects such as moths and cockroaches. They will react to woodlice but quickly discard them as they find them distasteful.
Tube web spiders exhibit a special behaviour when catching bees and wasps. The spider somehow recognises it as a stinging insect and will bite it at the head end. This means that when the spider brings it into the tube, the insect's sting will always be facing away from the spider. The spider can then eat the insect without fear of being stung.
They construct a long silken tube. At the opening of the tube there are six or more silk lines radiating outwards. The spider sits with its front six legs touching these lines to detect the vibrations of a passing insect. When it feels movement it will rush out in the direction of the line that was vibrating and try to catch the insect. If it is successful it quickly brings its prey back into the tube web to eat in safety.
The female will lay her eggs in the tube web. After they hatch she will stay with her young until they disperse. Occasionally, if the female dies before her young leave, they will eat her before moving on.
Tube web spiders are not protected by law in the UK.
Tube web spiders are known to have a bite that feels like a bee sting, although it has no lasting effects. They belong to a group of spiders that have only six eyes instead of the usual eight.