Tips on Identification of Spiders
Spider identification to species is often a very difficult task and certainly not one to be undertaken lightly. You are indeed lucky to get a specimen down to genus. The best identification books available today are Ubick et al. (2005), Kaston 1978), and Levi & Levi (1968). The first is a generic key (including the Linyphiidae), the second is a key to common species in the United States, and the third is a small picture book with good descriptions of families. All except Ubick et al (2005) are not totally up to date in regard to family placements and for these it is wise to consult Platnick (2010) and Dippenaar-Schoeman & Jocque (1997).
We recommend Ubick et al. (2005) for identifying genera because the keys are the best available. For this reason and because of space limitations we are not including keys in this work. We do include tips to identifying each species, when possible, under their entries. As far as state or local guides are concerned, Jackman (1997) is the most up to date (and only) guide for Texas, but there are no guides for Arizona or New Mexico. If a species determination is critical, as in spider bite, a specimen should be sent to a specialist.