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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


620 genera, 4706 species

Linyphiidae, spiders 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) is a family of very small spiders comprising 4706 described species in 620 genera worldwide.[2] This makes Linyphiidae the second largest family of spiders after the Salticidae. The family is poorly understood due to their small body size and wide distribution, new genera and species are still being discovered throughout the world. The newest such genus is Himalafurca from Nepal, formally described in April 2021 by Tanasevitch.[2] Since it is so difficult to identify such tiny spiders, there are regular changes in taxonomy as species are combined or divided.


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

While these spiders are light enough to utilize ballooning for travel,[6] they are limited by the physics of an often turbulent atmosphere and microclimate.[7] For this reason ballooning spiders have little control over where they land,[8] leading to a high mortality rate for the practice and its predominant usage by spiderlings and juveniles. The travel of money spiders by ballooning likely contributes to their vast distribution and speciation.

Predators and prey[edit]


The Pimoidae are the sister group to the Linyphiidae.[1]

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

Many species have been described in monotypic genera, especially in the Erigoninae, which probably reflects the scientific techniques traditionally used in this family.[1] 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:


As of May 2021, 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. ^ jordancuff (2019-05-16). "Rolling in money spiders". Biocoenosis. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  4. ^ Sunderland, K. D.; Fraser, A. M.; Dixon, A. F. G. (1986). "Field and Laboratory Studies on Money Spiders (Linyphiidae) as Predators of Cereal Aphids". Journal of Applied Ecology. 23 (2): 433–447. doi:10.2307/2404027. ISSN 0021-8901. JSTOR 2404027.
  5. ^ Harwood, James D.; Obrycki, John J. (2005-09-01). "Web-Construction Behavior of Linyphiid Spiders (Araneae, Linyphiidae): Competition and Co-Existence Within a Generalist Predator Guild". Journal of Insect Behavior. 18 (5): 593–607. doi:10.1007/s10905-005-7013-8. ISSN 1572-8889. S2CID 30576829.
  6. ^ Suter, Robert B. (1992). "Ballooning: Data from Spiders in Freefall Indicate the Importance of Posture". The Journal of Arachnology. 20 (2): 107–113. ISSN 0161-8202. JSTOR 3705774.
  7. ^ Suter, Robert B. (1999). "An Aerial Lottery: The Physics of Ballooning in a Chaotic Atmosphere". The Journal of Arachnology. 27 (1): 281–293. ISSN 0161-8202. JSTOR 3705999.
  8. ^ "Invasion of the ballooning money spiders". BBC News. 2021-10-18. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  9. ^ 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]