Ladybird spider Eresus kollari Rossi, 1846
The scientific name of the spider Eresus (Eresus kollari) has many synonyms. In Russian it was called Black Eresus (E. niger), as females and immature males of this species are completely black, and Carmine Eresus (E. cinnaberinus), since adult males have bright belly decorated with four black dots. That is why in English it was called ladybird spider. The species is widely spread in Eurasia to the south of forest zone and to the north of tropical belt. It is found mainly in grasslands with sparse vegetation; however, it may also occur in dry pine and birch forests. It’s a characteristic species of chalk steppe. In many countries, Eresus is listed in Red Data Books.
Eresus lives in a burrow lined with silk. Part of this silk tube comes to the surface and makes a trap net. It spreads on the ground or raises a few millimeters above it. The main food is large insects, especially beetles. The female does not leave its refuge, and therefore is seen only rarely. The male goes in search of females in September and October, and during this period, it is easy to notice. Its bright red abdomen is clearly visible against the background of chalk. After mating, the male dies and the female hibernates and lay eggs only in the spring. Eresus’s bite is not fatal to humans, but very painful. The pain may last up to 5-6 days.
Text by N. Polchaninova
Photo by N. Polchaninova, T. Markova