Of the 620 species of spider in Britain, about 250 of
them are classified as Linyphiidae, the majority of them being known
as "Money Spiders". For the most part they are about 2 mm
in length but there are one or two which are half this size. Most have
uniformly black bodies and brownish legs. Popular superstitions associate
these spiders with wealth, hence people are not as prone to killing
them. Adult money spiders are widespread throughout Britain in the late
summer and early autumn. A common species of money spider spin hammock
-like webs, (see below), which are often seen close to ground level
on garden plants, long grass, gorse or other vegetation.
Money spiders are also responsible for
the gossamer clouds which fall on fields or even ships at sea, on fine
days in autumn and early winter. The spiders spin their webs on warm
mornings following a cool night and are carried aloft by the rising
air currents. Cooler air brings them back to earth, sometimes over 100
miles from where they set off.
The example above is one of the most abundant
in Britain with the female being about 6 mm and the male slightly smaller
at 5 mm.
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