|6 genera, 102 species|
The spider family Oecobiidae (also called disc web spiders) includes about 100 described species so far.
The Oecobiidae are small- to moderate-sized spiders (about 2 mm to 2 cm head-and-body length, depending on the species); the larger species 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 curiously 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.
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). 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").
The species Oecobius navus occurs around the world.
While the genus Oecobius is cribellate, the genus Uroctea is ecribellate.
- Oecobius Lucas, 1846 (Cosmopolitan)
- Paroecobius Lamoral, 1981 (Africa)
- Platoecobius Chamberlin & Ivie, 1935 (USA)
- Uroctea Dufour, 1820 (Mediterranean, Africa, Asia)
- Urocteana Roewer, 1961 (Senegal)
- Uroecobius Kullmann & Zimmermann, 1976 (South Africa)
- Huber, B.A. (1994): Spermophore morphology reveals a new synapomorphy of Oecobius and Uroctea (Araneae, Oecobiidae). Journal of Arachnology 22: 73-74. PDF
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