Spiders  of the family Tetragnathidae can be found in a wide range of places, including parks, forests, streams and swamps. Although termed Big-Jawed Spiders, these arachnids do not necessarily have big jaws, but they do come in a wide range of weird forms and bizarre colours, simply amazing!

Tetragnathid spiders are web-builders, and possess fine hairs on their 4th legs which act as sensory organs to detect vibration and movement. 

Read on to learn more about the Big-Jawed Spiders:

 

Decorative Leucauge- Leucauge cf. decorata

#1. Likely a female Opadometa Spider (Opadometa sp.). Opadometa spiders are some of the most beautiful spiders in Malaysia. Like other Tetragnathid spiders, they build webs with a hole at the centre. Note the curvy sensory hairs at both sides of the abdomen, a characteristic especially apparent in Opadometa and Leucauge spiders.

 

Tetragnatha mandibulata

#2. A female Common Big-Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha mandibulata). This stick-like spider is very common and can usually be found near water, including garden ponds or fountains. These spiders also fancy building their webs on fences as well.

 

A Celebes Leucauge- Leucauge celebesiana ♀

#3. A female Celebes Leucauge (Leucauge celebesiana). Leucauge spiders look somewhat like Opadometa (Photo #1), but in general they lack thick tufts on their 4th legs. Leucauge are a lot more common as well.

 

Celebes Leucauge- Leucauge celesbesiana ♂

#4. A male Celebes Leucauge (Leucauge celebesiana). Female is shown in Photo #3. The Celebes Leucauge can be very common in highlands, dominating low shrubs and grasslands. Male Leucauge spiders are somewhat uncommon, and are often smaller sized (considering cephalothorax and abdomen only) than female counterparts. However, their very long legs, particularly the first 2 pairs, make them look really large. Males build webs as large as females’ when not out looking for mates.

 

Pear-shaped "Leucauge"- Opadometa fastigiata ♀

#5. A female, Pear-Shaped Opadometa (Opadometa fastigiata ♀). Opadometa spiders very beautiful, and are closely related to Leucauge . They have characteristic thick bristles on leg 4, located just below the curvy sensory Trichobotria hairs in this photo.

 

Copulation: Big-bellied Tylorida- Tylorida ventralis ♂♀

#6. Mating between a male and female Big-bellied Tylorida (Tylorida ventralis). These spiders are some of the most daring when it comes to having sex in public. The male on the left is seen using one of his modified palps to inject sperm into the genitalia (called epigyne) of the female. The injection occurs multiple times and the entire copulation process may last up to minutes and even hours depending on species.

 

Mangrove Long-Jawed Spider- Tetragnatha josephi ♂

#7. A male Mangrove Long-Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha josephi). Mangrove Tetragnatha spiders are in many ways very similar to their common cousins found near freshwater habitats (Photo #2): They are long, skinny and have ridiculously large jaws! Mangrove Tetragnatha spiders are confined to, well, mangrove areas, and have different jaw structure from other species.

 

Long-Jawed Mother Spider guarding her egg sac- Tetragnatha cf. mandibulata ♀

#8. A Long-Jawed Mother Spider guarding her egg sac (Tetragnatha cf. mandibulata). Everything about the Tetragnatha is long, the legs are long, the body is long, the jaws are long, and unsurprisingly, so do the egg sacs! These spiders love living near water and their long and slender body shapes allow them to easily hide among small twigs or leaves. This particular one was found in a paddy field.

 

Big-bellied Tylorida with prey- Tylorida ventralis ♀

#9. A female, Big-bellied Tylorida with prey (Tylorida ventralis). A very common spider that you can find pretty much anywhere in the wild. The males can often be seen hanging out with the females on the same web, and it is not uncommon to see them mating in public

 

Common Big-Jawed Spider- Tetragnatha mandibulata ♀

#10. A female, Common Big-Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha mandibulata). The common Big-Jawed Spider is hardly a favourite for any macrographer. They are long, thin and dull-coloured, not the most interesting of subjects. Still, these spiders are highly abundant near water bodies, and are very important biological controls in many agricultural sectors, keeping insect pests in check!

             

Green-and-Red Long-Jawed Spider- Tetragnatha hasselti ♂

#11. A male Green-and-Red Long-Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha hasselti). The female is shown below. A beautiful, greenish male Tetragnatha hasselti featuring a unique green abdomen and some red spots. The males can often be found resting on foliages at forest fringes. Although thin and seemingly fragile, these spiders are extremely fast, and thanks to their greenish camouflage and body shape; they can easily disappear within a blink of an eye!

 

Mother Green-and-Red Long-Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha hasselti ♀) with egg sac

#12. A mother Green-and-Red Long-Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha hasselti) with egg sac. The male is shown above. A beautiful Tetragnatha spider which, unlike other Tetragnatha, prefers to live on foliages of trees instead. T. hasselti can also be easily recognized by their orange-green colours, providing great camouflage. It is observed that Tetragnatha hasselti is probably the fastest among the other common Tetragnatha in Malaysia i.e. T. mandibulata and T. josephi.

 

Mangrove Long-Jawed Spider- Tetragnatha josephi ♂

#13. A male Mangrove Long-Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha josephi). A spider named after the famous spiderman of Singapore- Joseph Koh. Mangrove Tetragnatha spiders are in many ways similar to their common cousins found near freshwater habitats: They are long, skinny and have ridiculously large jaws! Mangrove Tetragnatha spiders are confined to, well, mangrove areas, and have different jaw structure from other species.

 

Mangrove Long-Jawed Spider- Tetragnatha josephi ♀

#14. A female Mangrove Long-Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha josephi). The male is shown above. The females display slightly silvery abdomens. Unlike the males, female Tetragnatha spiders have much smaller jaws. Will this affect their feeding efficiency?

 

 

 


 

** Identification of the subjects in this page are tentative and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

** All photos shown on this page were taken by Tan Ji. Please do not use or copy these photos without permission. However, I welcome interested users to read Images- Terms of Use for more details.