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dwarf spiders
Temporal range: Cretaceous–present
Drapetisca alteranda.JPG
Drapetisca alteranda
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Superfamily: Araneoidea
Family: Linyphiidae
Blackwall, 1859


611 genera, 5401 species

Linyphiidae is a family of very small spiders comprising 4667 described species in 618 genera worldwide.[2] This makes Linyphiidae the second largest family of spiders after the Salticidae. The family is poorly known; new genera and species are still being discovered throughout the world. The newest such genus is Yuelushannus from China, formally described in May 2020.[2] Because of the difficulty in identifying such tiny spiders, there are regular changes in taxonomy as species are combined or divided.

Names and classification[edit]

Spiders in this family are commonly known as sheet weavers (from the shape of their webs), or money spiders (in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and in Portugal, from the superstition that if such a spider is seen running on you, it has come to spin you new clothes, meaning financial good fortune).

There are six subfamilies, of which Linyphiinae (the sheetweb spiders), Erigoninae (the dwarf spiders), and Micronetinae, contain the majority of described species.

Common genera include Neriene, Lepthyphantes, Erigone, Eperigone, Bathyphantes, Troglohyphantes, the monotypic genus Tennesseellum and many others. These are among the most abundant spiders in the temperate regions, although many are also found in the tropics. The generally larger bodied members of the subfamily Linyphiinae are commonly found in classic "bowl and doily" webs or filmy domes. The usually tiny members of the Erigoninae are builders of tiny sheet webs. These tiny spiders (usually 3 mm or less) commonly balloon even as adults and may be very numerous in a given area on one day, only to disappear the next. Some males of the erigonines are exceptional, with their eyes set up on mounds or turrets. This reaches an extreme in some members of the large genus Walckenaeria, where several of the male's eyes are placed on a stalk taller than the carapace.

A few spiders in this family include:


Spiders of this family occur nearly worldwide. In Norway many species have been found walking on snow at temperatures of down to -7 °C.


Among birds, goldcrests are known to prey on money spiders.[3]


The Pimoidae are the sister group to the Linyphiidae.[1] Many species have been described in monotypic genera, especially in the Erigoninae, which probably reflects the scientific techniques traditionally used in this family.[1] As of July 2020, the World Spider Catalog accepts the following genera:[2]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hormiga, G. (1998). "The spider genus Napometa (Araneae, Araneoidea, Linyphiidae)" (PDF). Journal of Arachnology. 26: 125–132.
  2. ^ a b c "Family: Linyphiidae Blackwall, 1859". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  3. ^ RSPB Birds magazine, Winter 2004
  • Bosselaers, J & Henderickx, H. (2002) A new Savignia from Cretan caves (Araneae: Linyphiidae). Zootaxa 109:1-8 PDF[permanent dead link]
  • Hågvar, S. & Aakra, K. 2006. Spiders active on snow in Southern Norway. Norw. J. Entomol. 53, 71-82.

External links[edit]