8mm Mediterranean Jumping Spider  -  Menemerus semilimbatus
Menemerus semilimbatus Jumping Spider
Menemerus semilimbatus is a species of Mediterranean Jumping Spider found in Asia, Africa, USA, South America and Europe. Females can have a body-length of up to 9mm and males slightly less. They are usually found living in stone or brick walls but can also be found on trees. This specimen was found on a brick wall by the swimming pool of our hotel in Paphos.

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8mm Mediterranean Jumping Spider  -  Menemerus semilimbatus

10mm female Pantropical Jumping Spider   (Plexippus paykulli)
Pantropical Jumping Spider   (Plexippus paykulli)
A Large Jumping Spider with a typical body-length of around 10mm, however the specimen pictured above was particularly large at 12mm.

Female Pantropical Jumping Spider   (Plexippus paykulli)

Female Pantropical Jumping Spider   (Plexippus paykulli)

Jumping Spider   (Macaroeris flavicomis) 
Macaroeris flavicomis Jumping Spider  
A Small Jumping Spider with a body-length of around 7mm.

Jumping Spider   (Macaroeris flavicomis) 

Female False Widow Spider   (Steatoda paykulliana)
False Widow Spider   (Steatoda paykulliana)

Steatoda paykulliana have a body-length of around 15mm and a leg-span of up to 35mm.

Steatoda paykulliana is a new species sometimes found in the UK from the Mediterranean. It usually finds its way to the UK in amongst grapes and other fruit. At the moment in the UK this species has only been found in areas around Plymouth and Tilbury Docks in Essex.

Female False Widow Spider   (Steatoda paykulliana)

This female specimen is unusually skinny due to it having just produced and egg-sac, which it was guarding when I found it under a large rock. These spiders can have a red, yellow or white band around the abdomen.

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Female False Widow Spider   (Steatoda paykulliana)

Large female European Tarantula  (Chaetopelma olivaceum / Chaetopelma gracile)
European Tarantula  (Chaetopelma olivaceum / Chaetopelma gracile)
Chaetopelma olivaceum is sometimes referred to as the Black Tarantula or Middle-East Gold Tarantula, and is the largest of the few species of Tarantula that can be found within Europe.
Males usually grow to a body-length of 2.5cm and females 5cm. On occasion some specimens grow to 6cm body-length with a leg-span of over 10cm. European Tarantulas hunt at night feeding on small invertebrates with millipedes being a favourite. Sometimes small mice and lizards also become prey. During the daytime the European Tarantula hides away under rocks or in stone walls and sometimes in loose bark on trees.

Large female European Tarantula  (Chaetopelma olivaceum / Chaetopelma gracile)

Whilst turning over rocks in a forest area along the edge of a stream in Paphos I discovered two European Tarantulas under the same rock. One had a body-length of 2.5cm and the other, which had to be a female had a body-length of 5cm. Once disturbed the small specimen laid on its back and pretended to be dead. The larger female was extremely defensive and immediately raised itself up on its back legs revealing the large fangs and red mouth-parts. It held this position for about 10 minutes and occasionally made stabbing gestures at the ground. I also discovered that this species is very fast moving and is capable of jumping around six inches in order to escape or to defend itself with a bite to a predator.

The bite of the European Tarantula is not usually dangerous to healthy humans and is often considered to be not much worse than a wasp sting. However different people can react differently to the venom and I have read one account of a bite victim spending 8 days in hospital following a bite from this species.

European Tarantulas sometimes live in large colonies under rocks. The underside of the rock where I discovered these two specimens was littered with the remains of beetles and other invertebrates.

Threat display by Large female European Tarantula 

European Tarantulas can be found across the Middle-East including Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and Sudan. Occasionally these spiders find their way into homes.

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Large female European Tarantula 

Chaetopelma olivaceum and Chaetopelma gracile were once considered to be two different species but are now classed as one and the same.

The term "European Tarantula" can be confusing as the term is also sometimes used to refer to the Tarantula Wolf Spider (Lycosa tarantula)   

Large female European Tarantula  (Chaetopelma olivaceum / Chaetopelma gracile)

Small European Tarantula playing dead.

Small European Tarantula

Female Lobed Argiope Orb Weaver  -  Argiope lobata
Lobed Argiope Orb Weaver    (Argiope lobata)
The Lobed Argiope is a large Orb-Weaver found across Africa, Southern Europe and Asia, and is related to the British Wasp Spider. The female's body-length can be up to 25mm and its leg-span over 50mm. Its bite to humans may be painful but is not considered harmful.

Female Lobed Argiope Orb Weaver  -  Argiope lobata

Male Lobed Argiope Orb Weaver  -  Argiope lobata

This male Lobed Argiope Orb Weaver was photographed in-situ basking on a white pillar next to our hotel swimming pool. As with many spiders the male is far smaller and less impressive than the female.

Banded Garden Spider  -  Argiope trifasciata
Banded Garden Spider    (Argiope trifasciata)
Also known as: Banded Argiope, Banded Orb-Weaver, Whitebacked Garden Spider. The Banded Garden Spider is another relative of the British Wasp Spider and is found in low vegetation or grass in fields, meadows, gardens and besides freshwater streams and rivers. It grows to maximum leg-span of around 35mm and can produce webs up to 60cm. These spiders can be found in Cyprus, Australia, North America, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa and Spain. As with all Orb-Weaver Spiders its bite is not dangerous to humans.

Banded Garden Spider  -  Argiope trifasciata

Banded Garden Spider  -  Argiope trifasciata

25mm female Stone Huntsman Spider  (Eusparassus walckenaeri)
Stone Huntsman Spider  (Eusparassus walckenaeri)
A large spider usually found under stones in dry areas. Females have a body-length of around 25mm and a leg-span of over 50mm. This spider was one of the fastest I have ever photographed and moved at incredible speed for its size.

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