|male Eresus kollari|
C. L. Koch, 1851
|9 genera, 97 species|
The velvet spiders (family Eresidae) are a small group (about 100 species in 9 genera) 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, 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.
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.
- Adonea Simon, 1873 — Mediterranean
- Dorceus C. L. Koch, 1846 — Africa
- Dresserus Simon, 1876 — Africa
- Eresus Walckenaer, 1805 — Palearctic to Morocco
- Gandanameno Lehtinen, 1967 — Africa
- Loureedia Miller et al., 2012 - Israel
- Paradonea Lawrence, 1968 — Africa
- Seothyra Purcell, 1903 — Africa
- Stegodyphus Simon, 1873 — Africa, Madagascar, Brazil, Eurasia
- "Currently valid spider genera and species", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2015-10-20
- Seibt, U.; Wickler, W. (1988). "Interspecific Tolerance in Social Stegodyphus Spiders (Eresidae, Araneae)". Journal of Arachnology. 16: 35–39.
- Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, October 2015.
- "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.
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