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Wall spiders
Temporal range: Palaeogene–present
Wall crab spider (Selenops insularis) male.jpg
Selenops insularis in Jamaica
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Selenopidae
Simon, 1897
9 genera, 285 species
(Not complete)

Selenopidae, also called wall crab spiders, wall spiders[1] and flatties,[2] is a family of araneomorph spiders first described by Eugène Simon in 1897.[3] It contains over 280 species in nine genera, of which Selenops is the most well-known. This family is just one of several families whose English name includes the phrase "crab spider".

They are a variety of colors, including shades of grey, brown, yellow, and orange, with darker markings on the cephalothorax and spots or mottling on the abdomen, and annulations on the legs of most species.[4] They are very flat dorsoventrally, and have two tarsal claws and laterigrade legs. Their running and striking speeds place them among the world’s fastest animals,[4] making them difficult to capture, while their coloring often makes them difficult to see. Like most other Entelegynae, they have eight eyes arranged in two rows; one with six and one with two.[5]

They occur worldwide, from sea level to over 2,500 metres (8,200 ft), and are primarily tropical and subtropical, though several species are found in deserts.[4] They are commonly found on walls or under rocks. Selenops is the most widely distributed and Anyphops is found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. The remaining genera have more specific distributions. At least one (possibly extinct) species of Garcorops, G. jadis, is known only from subfossil copal.[6]


As of April 2019, the World Spider Catalog accepts the following genera:[7]

  • Amamanganops Crews & Harvey, 2011 — Philippines
  • Anyphops Benoit, 1968 — Africa
  • Garcorops Corronca, 2003 — Comoros, Madagascar
  • Godumops Crews & Harvey, 2011 — Papua New Guinea
  • Hovops Benoit, 1968 — Madagascar
  • Karaops Crews & Harvey, 2011 — Australia
  • Makdiops Crews & Harvey, 2011 — India, Nepal
  • Selenops Latreille, 1819 — Asia, North America, Caribbean, South America, Africa, Central America
  • Siamspinops Dankittipakul & Corronca, 2009 — Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dippenaar-Schoeman, Ansie (2014). A Field Guide to the Spiders of South Africa. LAPA Publishers.
  2. ^ "SELENOPIDAE Flatties". Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  3. ^ Simon, E. (1897). Histoire naturelle des araignées.
  4. ^ a b c Crews, C.S.; Harvey, M.S. (2011). "The spider family Selenopidae (Arachnida, Araneae) in Australasia and the Oriental Region". ZooKeys. 99. doi:10.3897/zookeys.99.723. PMC 3118779.
  5. ^ Jocqué, R.; Dippenaar-Schoeman, A.S. (2006). Spider families of the world. ARC-PPRI, Tervuren.
  6. ^ Bosselaers, J. (2004). "A new Garcorops species from Madagascar copal (Araneae: Selenopidae)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 445: 1–7.
  7. ^ "Family: Selenopidae Simon, 1897". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2019-04-24.

External links[edit]