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Temporal range: Middle Jurassic to present
Nephila inaurata (Araneidae)
Nephila inaurata (Araneidae)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Opisthothelae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
About 100 families

Araneomorphae (sometimes referred to as Labidognatha) is an infraorder of spiders. They are distinguished by having fangs that oppose each other and cross in a pinching action, in contrast to the Mygalomorphae (tarantulas and their close kin), which have fangs that are nearly parallel in alignment.[1] With the exception of the Hypochilidae spiders, they have at most a single pair of book lungs.[2] Both Araneomorphae and Mygalomorphae belong to the suborder Opisthothelae, which comprises nearly all extant species of spider. Mesothelae, the only other suborder in Aranea, includes only about 100 living species.

Distinguishing characteristics[edit]

Note the difference in the orientations of the fangs of the two spiders below, representatives of the Mygalomorphae and the Araneomorphae.


Female Sydney funnel-web spider

Atrax robustus (a member of the Atracidae) is making a threat display, and by so doing shows very clearly the orientation of its fangs, which go up and down, parallel to the long axis of the spider's body. So it is a representative of the suborder Mygalomorphae, not Araneomorphae.


In Araneomorphae, the fangs slope towards each other, giving these spiders many more possibilities than Mygalomorphae, which can only bite top down.

Unlike Mygalomorphae, which can live for up to 25 years, most Araneomorphae die after about a year.[3]

Spiders included[edit]

The vast majority of extant spider species are included in this group. The exceptions belong to the infraorder Mygalomorphae, which includes tarantulas, trapdoor spiders and several families of funnel-web spiders, and the suborder Mesothelae, which includes about 100 species living in Asia. The Araneomorphae include the orb-weaver spiders, the cobweb spiders, the crab spiders, the jumping spiders, the wolf spiders, and the large huntsman spiders.


As of 2015, precise details of the internal division of the araneomorphs are unclear. There are two main clades: the Haplogynae and the Entelegynae. The position of the two small clades Hypochilidae and Austrochiloidea, remains uncertain: some analyses place them outside the Haplogynae, as shown below.[4] Earlier analyses regarded the Hypochilidae as the sole representatives of a group called the Paleocribellatae, with all other araneomorphs placed in the Neocribellatae.[5] More recent analyses place the Austrochiloidea between the Haplogynae and the Entelegynae,[6] or group the Hypochilidae with the Haplogynae.[7]


Hypochilidae, Austrochiloidea




  1. ^ Foelix, Rainer F. (1996). Biology of Spiders (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 4–5. ISBN 0-19-973482-8. 
  2. ^ Adams, Richard J. (28 January 2014). "Field Guide to the Spiders of California and the Pacific Coast States". Univ of California Press – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Coddington, Jonathan A. (2005). "Phylogeny and classification of spiders" (PDF). In Ubick, D.; Paquin, P.; Cushing, P.E. & Roth, V. Spiders of North America: an identification manual. American Arachnological Society. pp. 18–24. Retrieved 2015-09-24. 
  5. ^ Coddington, Jonathan A. & Levi, Herbert W. (1991). "Systematics and evolution of spiders (Araneae)". Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 22: 565–592. doi:10.1146/ JSTOR 2097274. 
  6. ^ Griswold, C.E.; Ramirez, M.J.; Coddington, J.A. & Platnick, N.I. (2005). "Atlas of phylogenetic data for entelegyne spiders (Araneae: Araneomorphae: Entelegynae) with comments on their phylogeny". Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences. 56 (Suppl. 2): 1–324.  Cited in Bond et al. (2014)
  7. ^ Bond, Jason E.; Garrison, Nicole L.; Hamilton, Chris A.; Godwin, Rebecca L.; Hedin, Marshal & Agnarsson, Ingi (2014). "Phylogenomics Resolves a Spider Backbone Phylogeny and Rejects a Prevailing Paradigm for Orb Web Evolution". Current Biology. 24 (15): 1765–1771. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.034. PMID 25042592.