Meshweavers (Family Dictynidae)
There are 26 species of meshweavers known from Ohio. This represents about 4% of our spider species.
Characteristics of Dictynidae:
- most species spin a distinctive mesh web (a few spin a funnel-shaped web)
- most species spin a messy-looking web of cribellate silk (sometimes with zig-zag lines)
- spiders small or very small
- high clypeus (large space between eyes and jaws)
- males sometimes with dramatically modified bowing chelicerae
- body compact, abdomen with dense setae often laying flat (velvet-like)
These small (< 1/8 inch) spiders build a complex mesh tangle in the tops of small bushes or the dry standing remains of last year’s weeds, particularly dried goldenrods. The spider is sometimes difficult to see because it is gray or brown and hides in a silk retreat near the center of the tangle. The silk webbing is distinctive because of irregular bands which zig-zag across the spaces in the web. A few species (genus Cicurina) build smooth sheets of silk where they hide under logs and other debris on the ground.