How to identify spiders
I'm currently trying to improve my spider identification skills. I can't say it's easy, although many of the species I have been working with are Linyphiids (money spiders) that six months ago I wouldn't have even bothered with (but I'm still not quite brave enough to tackle all the little black ones yet). At a recent conference I went to there were two good talks about spiders. It's reassuring to find that it's not just me who finds spiders not the easiest of groups. The ever-reliable Brian Eversham had some useful advice for identifying spiders. "To learn to identify spiders" he said, "you need to correctly identify 10,000 spiders. Then you can identify spiders." I'm not quite sure where I am on the Eversham Scale, but I am sure his advice is correct.
Diaea dorsata has been turning up quite a bit recently. I beat the above specimen from Ivy at the weekend but I was slightly surprised to see the second specimen (Extra) wandering across the ceiling of my study yesterday morning. Fortunately, Diaea dorsata is one of the spiders that I can identify :-)