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Disc web spiders
Temporal range: Cretaceous–present
Uroctea durandi
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Oecobiidae
Blackwall, 1862
6 genera, 144 species

Oecobiidae, also called disc web spiders, is a family of araneomorph spiders, including about 100 described species.[1] They are small to moderate sized spiders (about 2 to 20 millimetres (0.079 to 0.787 in) long combined head and body length, depending on the species. Larger ones tend to be desert-dwelling. The legs are unusually evenly placed around the prosoma; most other spiders have some legs directed clearly forward and the rest clearly backward, or all forward. The first two pairs of legs of many Oecobiids point forward then curve backwards; somehow in a running spider this gives a scurrying, wheel-like impression that is characteristic of many Oecobiidae, and is helpful as a rough-and-ready aid to identification in the field. Characteristic of the family is the anal gland; it bears a tuft of long hairs. Typical colour patterns range from dark-patterned cream in some smaller species, to a small number of symmetrically placed, conspicuous round light spots (commonly yellow or white) on a background that may be anything from a dull orange colour to black. The carapace is rounded and bears a compact group of six to eight eyes medially situated near the front of its dorsal surface.[2]

Many Oecobiidae build small, temporary star-shaped webs on or under rocks, or on walls or gravel. They hide near or below such webs and prey largely on ants, giving rise to common names such as "anteater" or "miervreter" (Afrikaans for anteater).[2] Some of the Oecobiidae build tiny webs close to the ceilings in people's homes, which might have something to do with the family name (Oeco biidae meaning in essence "those who are house-living"[3]).

The species Oecobius navus occurs around the world.

While the genus Oecobius is cribellate, the genus Uroctea is ecribellate.


As of April 2019, the World Spider Catalog accepts the following genera:[1]

  • Oecobius Lucas, 1846 — Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Brazil, Costa Rica, Oceania
  • Paroecobius Lamoral, 1981 — South Africa, Madagascar, Botswana
  • Platoecobius Chamberlin & Ivie, 1935 — United States, Argentina
  • Uroctea Dufour, 1820 — Asia, Africa
  • Urocteana Roewer, 1961 — Senegal
  • Uroecobius Kullmann & Zimmermann, 1976 — South Africa

Extinct genera[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Family: Oecobiidae Blackwall, 1862". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  2. ^ a b Holm, Erik, Dippenaar-Schoeman, Ansie; Goggo Guide; LAPA publishers (URL: WWW.LAPA.co.za). 2010
  3. ^ Jaeger, Edmund Carroll (1959). A source-book of biological names and terms. Springfield, Ill: Thomas. ISBN 0-398-06179-3.
  • Huber, B.A. (1994): Spermophore morphology reveals a new synapomorphy of Oecobius and Uroctea (Araneae, Oecobiidae). Journal of Arachnology 22: 73–74. PDF

External links[edit]