The spider fauna of open habitats adjacent to arable land was investigated in northern Switzerland. The three habitat types were (1) herbaceous edges of fields (Sa), (2) fallow land sowed with flowers (BB), and (3) grass borders of fields (GS). Four funnel pitfall traps (10 cm diameter) were used to catch spiders in three stripe-types in two geographical regions in two years over 5 weeks in May and June: in total 12 sets of data. Spider species typical for open habitats were dominant, mostly lycosids (6 of the 10 most active species). The results were analysed together with environmental factors using a canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and spiders were compared with carabid beetles (Coeloptera: Carabidae). Geographical region, though not very distant, had the largest influence on both spiders and carabids. The age and type of the habitats had a stronger influence on spiders than on carabids. In spiders a larger part of the total variance was explained by the analysed factors. Finally we discuss briefly a remarkable spider species. A review of all known records of Phrurolithus nigrinus in Switzerland and Germany, together with adjacent regions in France, is given. Its phenology is indicated, its habitat discussed and the overall distribution within Europe is listed.