Velvet spider

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Velvet spiders
Temporal range: Miocene–present
Eresus fg03.jpg
Eresus kollari, male
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Eresidae
C. L. Koch, 1845
9 genera, 128 species

Velvet spiders (family Eresidae) are a small group (about 130 species in 9 genera[1]) of spiders almost entirely limited to the Old World, with exception of a few species known from Brazil. The characteristics of this family of spiders are that they are entelegyne (have a genital plate in the female), eight-eyed araneomorph spiders that build unkempt webs. They are cribellate (use woolly silk). Some species are nearly eusocial,[2] lacking only a specialized caste system and a queen. They cooperate in brood rearing, unlike most other spiders except for some African agelenid spiders in the genus Agelena and a few others.[citation needed]

Female velvet spiders exhibit a remarkable type of maternal care unique among arachnids. Upon the birth of her brood, the mother spider liquefies her internal organs and regurgitates this material as food. Once her capability to liquefy her insides is exhausted, the young sense this and consume the mother.[3]

The genus Penestomus was previously placed in Eresidae as the subfamily Penestominae, but was elevated to its own family, Penestomidae, in 2010.[citation needed]

Spiders of the genus Stegodyphus genus, such as Stegodyphus sarasinorum in India, are known for their elaborate and robust nests and their colony integrity.[citation needed]


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

  • Adonea Simon, 1873 — Portugal, Algeria, Israel
  • Dorceus C. L. Koch, 1846 — Africa, Asia
  • Dresserus Simon, 1876 — Africa
  • Eresus Walckenaer, 1805 — Africa, Asia, Europe
  • Gandanameno Lehtinen, 1967 — Namibia, South Africa, Malawi
  • Loureedia Miller, Griswold, Scharff, Řezáč, Szűts & Marhabaie, 2012 — Africa, Asia
  • Paradonea Lawrence, 1968 — Namibia, Botswana, South Africa
  • Seothyra Purcell, 1903 — Africa
  • Stegodyphus Simon, 1873 — Africa, Asia, Brazil

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Family: Eresidae C. L. Koch, 1845". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  2. ^ Seibt, U.; Wickler, W. (1988). "Interspecific Tolerance in Social Stegodyphus Spiders (Eresidae, Araneae)". Journal of Arachnology. 16: 35–39.
  3. ^ Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, October 2015.
  • Lehtinen, P.T. (1967): Classification of the cribellate spiders and some allied families, with notes on the evolution of the suborder Araneomorpha. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 4: 199-468.
  • Dippenaar-Schoeman, A.S. (1989): The African species of the subfamily Penestominae (Araneae: Eresidae): with description of two new species. Phytophylactica 21: 131-134.

External links[edit]