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A Pterinochilus murinus tarantula
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
Family: Theraphosidae
Subfamily: Harpactirinae
Pocock, 1897

See text

The Harpactirinae (commonly called baboon spiders) are a subfamily of tarantulas which are native to the continent of Africa. Like many Old World tarantulas, they have a relatively strong venom, and can inflict a painful bite.


Harpactirinae are ground-dwelling spiders which build silk-lined burrows, often under debris such as stones, using their fangs and chelicerae for digging. Habitats include savanna woodlands, grasslands, and dry scrublands.[citation needed]


The following genera and species are present in the Harpactirinae. In addition, the genus Brachionopus (Pocock, 1897) has been suggested for placement in this subfamily, but its taxonomy is currently disputed.

Augacephalus (Gallon, 2002)
Type species: Augacephalus breyeri

In synonymy:
Augacephalus nigrifemur (Schmidt, 1995) = Augacephalus junodi

  • Augacephalus breyeri (Hewitt, 1919) — Mozambique, South Africa, Eswatini
  • Augacephalus ezendami (Gallon, 2001) — Mozambique, the Mozambique Gold[en] Baboon, Mozambique Half Moon Baboon
  • Augacephalus junodi (Simon, 1904) — East, South Africa, the [East African] Bushveld Golden Brown Featherleg Baboon

Bacillochilus (Gallon, 2010) [monotypic]

Brachionopus (Pocock, 1897)
To quote Platnick's World Spider Catalog v. 12.5,[1] "N.B.: transferred here from the Barychelidae by Raven, 1985a: 112; Brachyonopus is an unjustified emendation; Raven's transfer was not accepted by Charpentier, 1993: 5 or Schmidt, 2002a: 12 and 2008: 3, who nevertheless identified no close relatives of the genus among the known barychelids; Gallon, 2002: 204 argued for its inclusion in the Barychelidae but indicated that it "does not fit in any current barychelid subfamily" but later (Gallon, 2010b: 79) considered it a harpactirine.".

In other words, its taxonomy is in dispute and the many recent workers do not consider it a theraphosid. All are found in South Africa.

Ceratogyrus (Pocock, 1897) [Senior synonym of Coelogenium Purcell, 1902]
Type species: Ceratogyrus darlingi

Transferred to other genera:
Ceratogyrus ezendamiAugacephalus ezendami
Ceratogyrus nigrifemurAugacephalus nigrifemur
Ceratogyrus raveni (Smith, 1990)Pterinochilus chordatus

In synonymy:
Ceratogyrus bechuanicus (Purcell, 1902) and Ceratogyrus schultzei (Purcell, 1908) = Ceratogyrus darlingi
Ceratogyrus cornuatus (De Wet & Dippenaar-Schoeman, 1991) = Ceratogyrus marshalli

Eucratoscelus (Pocock, 1898)
Type species: Eucratoscelus constrictus

Transferred to other genera:
Eucratoscelus tenuitibialis (Schmidt & Gelling, 2000)Pterinochilus lugardi

In synonymy:
Eucratoscelus longiceps (Pocock, 1898) and Eucratoscelus spinifer = Eucratoscelus constrictus

Harpactira (Ausserer, 1871)
Type species: Harpactira atra

Harpactirella (Purcell, 1902) [Senior synonym of Luphocemus {Denis, 1960}]
Type species: Harpactirella treleaveni

Transferred to other genera:
Harpactirella flavipilosa (Lawrence, 1936)Pterinochilus lugardi
Harpactirella latithorax (Strand, 1908)Euathlus vulpinus
Harpactirella leleupi (Benoit, 1965)Idiothele nigrofulva

Idiothele (Hewitt, 1919)
Type species: Idiothele nigrofulva

In synonymy:
Idiothele crassispina (Purcell, 1902) and Idiothele leleupi (Benoit, 1965) = Idiothele nigrofulva

Pterinochilus (Pocock, 1897) [Senior synonym of Pterinochilides {Strand, 1920}]
Type species: Pterinochilus vorax

Transferred to other genera:
Pterinochilus breyeriAugacephalus breyeri
Pterinochilus constrictus and Pterinochilus spiniferEucratoscelus constrictus
Pterinochilus crassispinus and Pterinochilus nigrofulvusIdiothele nigrofulva
Pterinochilus junodi and Pterinochilus nigrifemurAugacephalus junodi
Pterinochilus meridionalisCeratogyrus meridionalis
Pterinochilus schoenlandiTrichognathella schoenlandi

In synonymy:
Pterinochilus affinis (Tullgren, 1910), Pterinochilus brunellii (Caporiacco, 1940), Pterinochilus carnivorus (Strand, 1917), Pterinochilus raptor (Strand, 1906), Pterinochilus raveni (Smith, 1990), Pterinochilus sjostedti (Tullgren, 1910), and Pterinochilus widenmanni (Strand, 1906) = Pterinochilus chordatus
Pterinochilus flavipilosus (Lawrence, 1936), Pterinochilus pluridentatus (Hewitt, 1919), and Pterinochilus tenuitibialis = Pterinochilus lugardi
Pterinochilus hindei (Hirst, 1907), Pterinochilus leetzi (Schmidt, 2002), and Pterinochilus mamillatus (Strand, 1906) = Pterinochilus murinus
Pterinochilus mutus (Strand, 1920), Pterinochilus obenbergeri (Strand, 1920), and Pterinochilus occidentalis (Strand, 1920) = Pterinochilus simoni

Trichognathella (Gallon, 2004) [Monotypic?]


  1. ^ Platnick, Norman I. "World Spider Catalog", "American Museum of Natural History."

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