Velvet spider

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Velvet spiders
Eresus fg03.jpg
male Eresus kollari
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Opisthothelae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Eresidae
C. L. Koch, 1851

See text.

9 genera, 97 species

The velvet spiders (family Eresidae) are a small group (about 100 species in 9 genera[1]) of almost totally Old World spiders (exception: a few species are 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 almost 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 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]


As of October 2015, the World Spider Catalog accepted the following genera:[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Currently valid spider genera and species", World Spider Catalog (Natural History Museum Bern), retrieved 2015-10-20 
  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.
  4. ^ "Family: Eresidae C.L.Koch, 1845", World Spider Catalog (Natural History Museum Bern), retrieved 2015-10-20 
  • 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]