Pirate spider

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Pirate spiders
Ero.furcata.egg.sac.jpg
Ero furcata egg sac
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Superfamily: Mimetoidea
Family: Mimetidae
Simon, 1881
Genera

Ero
Gelanor
Mimetus
Oarces
others, see text

Diversity
12 genera, 152 species
Distribution.mimetidae.1.png

The family Mimetidae, commonly called pirate spiders, are spiders which typically feed on other spiders.

female Mimetus ryukyus

The family Mimetidae contains roughly 200 species divided among 12 genera, of which Mimetus and Ero are the most common. Mimetids are usually yellow and brown and are usually 3 to 7 mm long. Mimetids can be recognized by the rows of spine-like hairs on their long front legs; the rows consist of a long spine, followed by a series of progressively shorter ones.

Mimetidae usually hunt by picking at the strands on their prey's web to simulate the movements of either a trapped insect or a potential mate. When their prey comes to investigate, they are instead captured and eaten. Some mimetids have been observed to feed on insects as well. The spider-feeding habit presents problems in mating, and little is known about how the males court females to avoid being eaten. However, some male mimetids in the genus Gelanor, found in South America, have enormously long appendages which they use to inseminate females.

Taxonomy[edit]

The Mimetidae are sometimes taxonomically grouped in the superfamilies Araneoidea or Palpimanoidea.

Genera[edit]

The categorization into subfamilies follows Joel Hallan's Biology Catalog.

  • Gnolus Simon, 1879 (South America)
  • Oarces Simon, 1879 (South America)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Platnick, N.I. & Shabad, M.U. (1993). A review of the pirate spiders (Aranae, Mimetidae) of Chile. American Museum novitates 3074. Abstract - PDF (12Mb) (with color pictures of O. reticulatus male and female, G. cordiformis m/f, G. blinkeni f, G. zonulatus f, G. spiculator f, H. collusor f; new description of G. blinkeni)

External links[edit]