The Ladybird Spider (Eresus cinnaberinus, formerly Eresus niger) is a species of arachnid native to Europe. It can be found from Portugal to Ukraine, and from England to Greece. It prefers sunny, dry locations and is widely distributed in central and southern Europe. In Great Britain this spider is listed as endangered. It is also considered endangered in Germany. It was previously thought to be extinct in Britain after the 1920s. It was rediscovered in 1979 at a confirmed site in the town of Wareham. Other unconfirmed reports have yet to be substantiated.
This species has actually been divided into three distinct species (E. kollari, E. sandaliatus and E. moravicus), all of which differ in size, color pattern, anterior organs, and habitat. Eastern and western E. kollari are genetically different and it is possible that these could also be split into additional species.
The female has a body length of up to 0.78 inches whilst the male is about half the size of the female at 0.43 inches. The male has a black anterior region and a striking red posterior region with four black dots (sometimes with white lining). Its black legs have white stripes, the hind legs are partly red. The female is mostly black with some white hairs, only the front is sometimes yellow.
This spider lives in an underground tube that is about 4 inches long and 0.4 inches in diameter. The top of the tube is much wider and is lined with silk. Many webs can be found in the same area, sometimes up to ten on a single square meter (39 sq. in.). Millipedes and beetles are mainly caught as food. The male walks around during September, searching for females. When one is found, it lives with the female in her tube, and they feed from the same web.