Armored spiders

Spider taxonomy

Spider taxonomy is the alpha taxonomy of the spiders, members of the Araneae order of the arthropod class Arachnida with about 40,000 described species. However there are likely many species that have escaped the human eye to this day, and many specimens stored in collections waiting to be described and classified. It is estimated that only one third to one fifth of existing species have been described.

Arachnology currently divides spiders into three suborders with about 38 superfamilies, and 111 families. Seven of the 111 families are incertae sedis, meaning that their placement into superfamilies is not agreed upon; several other families are not placed in any superfamily.

Due to constant research, with new species being discovered every month and others being recognized as synonyms, the number of species in the families is bound to change and can never reflect the present status with total accuracy. Nevertheless, the species numbers given here are useful as a guideline.

See a table of Araneae families at the end of the article with some genera and species listed for each family (only identified species are included).

Suborder Mesothelae

Mesothelae resemble the Solifugae ("wind scorpions" or "sun scorpions") in having segmented plates on their abdomens that create the appearance of the segmented abdomens of these other arachnids. They are both few in number and also limited in geographical range.

Suborder Opisthothelae

Suborder Opisthothelae contains the spiders that have no plates on their abdomens. It can be somewhat difficult on casual inspection to determine whether the chelicerae of members are of the sort that would put them into the infraorder of the mygalomorphs or the infraorder of the Araneomorphs. The spiders that are called "tarantulas" in English are so large and hairy that inspection of their chelicerae is hardly necessary to categorize one of them as a Mygalomorph. Other, smaller, members of this suborder, however, look little different from the Araneomorphs. (See the picture of the Sphodros rufipes below.) Many Araneomorphs are immediately identifiable as such since they are found on webs designed for the capture of prey or exhibit other habitat choices that eliminate the possibility that they could by Mygalomorphs.

Infraorder Mygalomorphae

Spiders in infraorder Mygalomorphae are characterized by the vertical orientation of their chelicerae and the possession of four book lungs.

Infraorder Araneomorphae

Most, if not all, of the spiders one encounters in everyday life belong to infraorder Araneomorphae. It includes a wide range from the spiders that weave their beautiful orb webs in the garden, the more chaotic-looking webs of the cobweb spiders that frequent window frames and the corners of rooms, the crab spiders that lurk waiting for nectar- and pollen-gathering insects on flowers, to the jumping spiders that patrol the outside walls of a dwelling, and so on. They are characterized by having chelicerae whole tips approach each other as they bite, and (usually) having one pair of book lungs.

Some important spider families are :-

These spiders are frequently seen in cellars. When light contact disturbs their web their characteristic response is to set the entire web moving the way a person would jump up and down on a trampoline. It is unclear why they cause their webs to vibrate in this way; moving their webs back and forward may increase the possibility that insects flying close by may be ensnared, or the rapid gyrations caused by the spider in its web may make the spider harder to target by predators.

The family of Araneae commonly called jumping spiders have a characteristic cephalothorax shapes, as shown in the diagram below. They have eight eyes, two of the very prominent, and excellent vision. Their maximum size is perhaps 13/16 inch (20 mm), but many species are much smaller than that. The largest North American species such as Phidippus regius, P. octopunctatis, etc., are so heavy bodied that they cannot jump far. The smaller species of jumping spider can jump many times their own body length. They hunt by first getting within range of a prey animal such as a fly, securing a silken "climbing rope" to their current perch, and then jumping onto their prey and biting it. Many seem to take unerring aim at the neck of their prey. Should they jump from one twig to another in an attempt to capture prey and miss or get knocked off the second twig by their struggling prey then they are protected from falling by their silken lifeline. At night these spiders usually retreat to a silken "puptent" that they construct for their own protection and, when needed, as a place to deposit their eggs. They are frequently seen in sunlit areas on walls, tree trunks, and other such vertical surfaces. They are perhaps the only family of spiders who will take cognizance of a human in their general area and then turn their bodies and elevate their cephalothoraxes to keep the human under observation. If approached closely, e.g., with the lens of a camera, some of them may choose to jump onto the nearby object to explore it. This behavior may be alarming but it never seems to be aggressive since these spiders are unwilling to attack prey that are very much larger than they are.

Table of Families

Families listed in boldface contain one or more species which are believed to be venomous to humans.

1 <10 >=10 >=100 >=1000

Spider families (July 20, 2007)
Suborder Superfamily Family Genera Species Common name Example
Mesothelae Liphistiidae 5 87 segmented spiders Kimura-gumo
Mygalomorphae Mecicobothrioidea Mecicobothriidae 4 9 dwarf tarantulas
Microstigmatidae 7 14 Envia garciai
Hexatheloidea Hexathelidae 11 86 venomous funnel-web tarantulas Sydney funnel-web spider
Dipluroidea Dipluridae 24 175 funnel-web tarantulas Spruce-fir moss spider
Nemesioidea Nemesiidae 41 339 Black wishbone spider
Theraphosoidea Theraphosidae 113 903 tarantulas Goliath birdeater
Paratropididae 4 8 baldlegged spiders
Barycheloidea Barychelidae 44 300 trapdoor baboon spiders Sason sundaicum
Atypoidea Atypidae 3 43 purse web spiders Red legged purseweb spider
Antrodiaetidae 2 32 folding trapdoor spiders Atypoides riversi
Cyrtauchenioidea Cyrtaucheniidae 18 126 wafer trapdoor spiders Aptostichus simus
Idiopoidea Idiopidae 22 281 Black rugose trapdoor spider
Ctenizoidea Ctenizidae 9 121 cork-lid trapdoor spiders Cteniza sauvagesi
Migoidea Migidae 10 91 tree trapdoor spiders
Actinopodidae 3 41 Mouse spider
Araneomorphae Hypochiloidea Hypochilidae 2 11 lampshade spiders Hypochilus thorelli
Austrochiloidea Austrochilidae 3 9 Tasmanian cave spider
Gradungulidae 7 16 large-clawed spiders Carrai Cave Spider
Filistatoidea Filistatidae 16 110 crevice weavers Southern house spider
Scytodoidea Drymusidae 1 14 false violin spiders
Periegopidae 1 2
Scytodidae 5 192 spitting spiders Scytodes thoracica
Sicariidae 2 122 recluse spiders Brown recluse
Leptonetoidea Leptonetidae 15 201 leptonetid spiders Tooth cave spider
Ochyroceratidae 14 154 midget ground weavers Theotima minutissima
Telemidae 7 22 long-legged cave spiders
Pholcoidea Diguetidae 2 15 coneweb spiders
Pholcidae 81 969 daddy long-legs spiders Daddy long-leg spider
Plectreuridae 2 30 plectreurid spiders
Caponioidea Caponiidae 11 70 Two-eyed orange spider
Tetrablemmidae 29 126 armored spiders
Dysderoidea Dysderidae 24 494 woodlouse hunter spiders Woodlouse spider
Oonopidae 72 487 dwarf hunting spiders Oonops domesticus
Orsolobidae 28 178
Segestriidae 3 106 tubeweb spiders Segestria florentina
Eresoidea Eresidae 10 101 velvet spiders Ladybird spider
Hersiliidae 11 158 tree trunk spiders Two-tailed spider
Oecobiidae 6 103 disc web spiders Oecobius navus
Archaeoidea Archaeidae 3 25 pelican spiders Assassin spider
Holarchaeidae 1 2
Mecysmaucheniidae 7 25
Micropholcommatidae 8 33
Pararchaeidae 7 34
Palpimanoidea Huttoniidae 1 1 Huttonia palpimanoides
Palpimanidae 15 128 palp-footed spiders
Stenochilidae 2 12
Mimetoidea Malkaridae 4 10 shield spiders
Mimetidae 12 152 pirate spiders Oarces reticulatus
Uloboroidea Deinopidae 4 57 net-casting spiders Rufous net-casting spider
Uloboridae 18 264 hackled orb-weaver Uloborus walckenaerius
Araneoidea Anapidae 35 145
Araneidae 166 2845 orb-weaver spiders Zygiella x-notata
Cyatholipidae 23 58
Linyphiidae 570 4323 dwarf / money spiders Blacktailed red sheetweaver
Mysmenidae 22 92 spurred orb-weavers Mysmenopsis furtiva
Nesticidae 9 204 cave cobweb spiders Nesticella marapu
Pimoidae 3 26 Pimoa altioculata
Symphytognathidae 6 45 dwarf orb-weavers Patu digua
Synaphridae 3 12
Synotaxidae 13 68
Tetragnathidae 51 958 long jawed orb-weavers Orchard orb weaver
Nephilidae 4 73 large-jawed spiders Golden orb-web spider
Theridiidae 96 2281 cobweb spiders Black widow spider
Theridiosomatidae 12 75 ray spiders Theridiosoma gemmosum
Lycosoidea Ctenidae 39 472 tropical wolf spiders Brazilian wandering spider
Lycosidae 107 2320 wolf spiders Lycosa tarentula
Oxyopidae 9 422 lynx spiders Green lynx spider
Pisauridae 54 331 nursery web spiders Fishing spiders
Psechridae 2 24
Senoculidae 1 31
Stiphidiidae 13 94 Tartarus mullamullangensis
Trechaleidae 17 78
Zoridae 13 74
Zorocratidae 5 21 zorocratid spiders
Zoropsidae 12 76 zoropsid spiders Zoropsis spinimana
Agelenoidea Agelenidae 41 508 araneomorph funnel-web spiders Hobo spider
Amphinectidae 36 187 Metaltella simoni
Amaurobioidea Amaurobiidae 71 679 tangled nest spiders Callobius claustrarius
Dictynoidea Anyphaenidae 56 508 anyphaenid sac spiders Yellow ghost spider
Cybaeidae 12 157 Water spider
Desidae 38 182 intertidal spiders Foliage webbing spider
Dictynidae 48 563 dictynid spiders Nigma walckenaeri
Hahniidae 26 235 dwarf sheet spiders
Nicodamidae 9 29
Sparassoidea Sparassidae 83 1018 huntsman spiders Avondale spider
Selenopoidea Selenopidae 4 190 wall spiders Selenops radiatus
Zodaroidea Zodariidae 74 845 zodariid ground spiders Zodarion germanicum
Tengelloidea Tengellidae 8 37 tengellid spiders
incertae sedis Chummidae 1 2
Clubionidae 14 541 sac spiders Clubiona trivialis
Cycloctenidae 5 36
Homalonychidae 1 3
Miturgidae 26 353 long-legged sac spiders Yellow sac spider
Titanoecoidea Phyxelididae 12 54
Titanoecidae 5 46 titanoecid spiders Goeldia obscura
Gnaphosoidea Ammoxenidae 4 18
Cithaeronidae 2 6
Gallieniellidae 10 48
Gnaphosidae 114 1990 flat-bellied ground spiders Drassodes lapidosus
Lamponidae 23 191 white-tailed spiders White-tailed spider
Prodidomidae 31 303 long-spinneret ground spiders Lygromma anops
Trochanteriidae 18 149
Thomisoidea Philodromidae 29 522 philodromid crab spiders Philodromus dispar
Thomisidae 171 2062 crab spiders Goldenrod spider
Salticoidea Salticidae 559 5088 jumping spiders Zebra spider
Corinnoidea Corinnidae 77 935 dark sac spiders Castianeira sp.
Liocranidae 29 160 liocranid sac spiders
3 ca. 38 108 3676 39882 Total

* The World Spider Catalog, Version 8.0 (families, species count)
* Synopsis of the described Araneae of the World (suborders)

See also


  • Reiskind, J. (1965). The Taxonomic Problem of Sexual Dimorphism in Spiders and a Synonymy in Myrmecotypus (Araneae, Clubionidae). ''Psyche 72:279-281 PDF

External links

es:Taxonomía de las arañas

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