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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Superphylum: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Classis: Arachnida
Ordo: Araneae
Subordo: Araneomorphae
Infraordo: Araneomorphi
Series: Entelegynae
Superfamilia: Araneoidea
Familia: Theridiidae
Subfamiliae: Argyrodinae - Hadrotarsinae - Latrodectinae - Pholcommatinae - Spintharinae - Theridiinae - incertae sedis

Genera overview: Achaearanea - Achaearyopa - Achaeridion - Allothymoites - Ameridion - Anatea - Anatolidion - Anelosimus - Argyrodella - Argyrodes - Ariamnes - Asagena - Asygyna - Audifia - Bardala - Cabello - Canalidion - Carniella - Cephalobares - Cerocida - Chorizopella - Chrosiothes - Chrysso - Coleosoma - Coscinida - Craspedisia - Crustulina - Cryptachaea - Cyllognatha - Deelemanella - Dipoena - Dipoenata - Dipoenura - Echinotheridion - Emertonella - Enoplognatha - Episinus - Euryopis - Eurypoena - Exalbidion - Faiditus - Gmogala - Guaraniella - Hadrotarsus - Helvibis - Helvidia - Hentziectypus - Heterotheridion - Hetschkia - Histagonia - Icona - Jamaitidion - Kochiura - Landoppo - Lasaeola - Latrodectus - Macaridion - Magnopholcomma - Molione - Moneta - Monetoculus - Nanume - Neospintharus - Neottiura - Nesticodes - Nipponidion - Ohlertidion - Paidiscura - Parasteatoda - Paratheridula - Pholcomma - Phoroncidia - Phycosoma - Phylloneta - Platnickina - Proboscidula - Propostira - Pycnoepisinus - Rhomphaea - Robertus - Rugathodes - Sardinidion - Selimus - Selkirkiella - Sesato - Seycellesa - Simitidion - Spheropistha - Spinembolia - Spintharus - Steatoda - Stemmops - Stoda - Styposis - Takayus - Tekellina - Theonoe - Theridion - Theridula - Thwaitesia - Thymoites - Tidarren - Tomoxena - Wamba - Wirada - Yaginumena - Yoroa - Yunohamella - Zercidium


Theridiidae Sundevall, 1833


Hadrotarsidae Thorell, 1881


Agnarsson, I. 2004: Morphological phylogeny of cobweb spiders and their relatives (Araneae, Araneoidea, Theridiidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 141: 447-626. PDF
Arnedo, M.A.; Coddington, J.; Agnarsson, I.; Gillespie, R.G. 2004: From a comb to a tree: phylogenetic relationships of the comb-footed spiders (Araneae, Theridiidae) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial genes. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 31: 225–245. PDF
Knoflach, B.; Rollard, C.; Thaler, K. 2009: Notes on Mediterranean Theridiidae (Araneae) – II. In: Stoev, P.; Dunlop, J.; Lazarov, S. (eds) A life caught in a spider's web. Papers in arachnology in honour of Christo Deltshev. ZooKeys, 16: 227-264. Abstract PDF
Levi, H. W. & L. R. Levi. 1962. The genera of the spider family Theridiidae. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 127: 1-71.
Paquin, P.; Vink, C.J.; Dupérré, N. 2010: Spiders of New Zealand: annotated family key & species list. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, New Zealand. ISBN 9780478347050


Platnick, N. I. 2009. The World Spider Catalog, version 9.5. American Museum of Natural History. [1]
Joel Hallan's Biology Catalog

Vernacular names
Česky: Snovačkovití
English: Tangle web spider
한국어: 꼬마거미과
日本語: ヒメグモ科
Polski: omatnikowate
中文: 姬蜘科

Theridiidae is a large family of spiders, also known as the tangle-web spiders cobweb spiders and comb-footed spiders. The diverse family describes over 2200 species in over 100 genera)[3] of three-dimensional space-web-builders found throughout the world. Theridiid spiders are entelegyne (have a genital plate in the female) araneomorph ecribellate (use sticky capture silk instead of woolly silk) spiders that often build tangle space webs and have a comb of serrated bristles (setae) on the tarsus of the fourth leg.

The family includes some model organisms for research, for example, the genus Latrodectus, the medically important widow spiders. In addition to studies characterizing their venom and its clinical manifestation, widow spiders are broadly used in research on spider silk, and on sexual biology including sexual cannibalism.

Anelosimus spiders are also model organisms, used for the study of sociality, its evolution, and its ecological and evolutionary causes and consequences. They are particularly important for such studies as the genus contains species varying from solitary to permanently social, and because sociality has evolved frequently within the genus allowing comparative studies across species. These spiders are also a promising model for the study of inbreeding as their mating system co-varies with sociality, and all permanently social species are highly inbred.

One species in Theridion, the Hawaiian T. grallator, is used as a model to understand the selective forces and the genetic basis of color polymorphism within species. Theridion grallator is known as the "happyface" spider, as certain morphs have a pattern uncannily resembling a smiley face or a grinning clown face on their yellow body.

The family also contains the well studied kleptoparasitic species of the subfamily Argyrodinae (including Argyrodes, Faiditus, and Neospintharus) which often have triangular bodies. These spiders live in the webs of larger spiders and pilfer small prey caught by their host's web, eat prey killed by the host spider, and may consume silk from the host web, as well as attack and eat the host itself.

The largest genus with over 600 species currently placed in it is Theridion, but it is not monophyletic. Another large genus is Parasteatoda, previously Achaearanea, which includes the common house spider.

Many theridiids trap ants and other ground dwelling insects by means of elastic sticky silk trap lines leading to the soil surface. Despite their name, cobweb or tangle-web spiders have a huge range of web architectures.


Recent years have seen advances in the systematics of cobweb spiders with phylogenies reconstructed using both morphological and molecular data. The following classification is built on these results (see also Joel Hallan's Biology Catalog).

(subfamily Argyrodinae)


Argyrodes Simon, 1864
Neospintharus Exline, 1950
Ariamnes Thorell, 1869
Deelemanella Yoshida, 2003
Faiditus Keyserling, 1884
Rhomphaea L. Koch, 1872
Spheropistha Yaginuma, 1957

(subfamily Hadrotarsinae)


Anatea Berland, 1927
Audifia Keyserling, 1884
Dipoena Thorell, 1869
Dipoenata Wunderlich, 1988
Emertonella Bryant, 1945
Euryopis Menge, 1868
Eurypoena Wunderlich, 1992
Gmogala Keyserling, 1890
Guaraniella Baert, 1984
Hadrotarsus Thorell, 1881
Lasaeola Simon, 1881
Phycosoma O. P.-Cambridge, 1879
Yaginumena Yoshida, 2002
Yoroa Baert, 1984

(subfamily Latrodectinae)

Latrodectinae Petrunkevitch, 1928

Crustulina Menge, 1868
Latrodectus Walckenaer, 1805
Steatoda Sundevall, 1833

Empolognatha abrupta
(subfamily Pholcommatinae)

Pholcommatinae Simon, 1894

Asygyna Agnarsson, 2006
Carniella Thaler & Steinberger, 1988
Cerocida Simon, 1894
Craspedisia Simon, 1894
Enoplognatha Pavesi, 1880
Helvidia Thorell, 1890
Pholcomma Thorell, 1869
Phoroncidia Westwood, 1835
Proboscidula Miller, 1970
Robertus O. P.-Cambridge, 1879
Selkirkiella Berland, 1924
Styposis Simon, 1894
Theonoe Simon, 1881
Wirada Keyserling, 1886

(subfamily Spintharinae)


Chrosiothes Simon, 1894
Episinus Walckenaer, in Latreille, 1809
Moneta O. P.-Cambridge, 1870
Spintharus Hentz, 1850
Thwaitesia O. P.-Cambridge, 1881
Stemmops O. P.-Cambridge, 1894

(subfamily Theridiinae)


Achaearanea Strand, 1929
Achaearyopa Barrion & Litsinger, 1995
Ameridion Wunderlich, 1995
Cabello Levi, 1964
Cephalobares O. P.-Cambridge, 1870
Chrysso O. P.-Cambridge, 1882
Coleosoma O. P.-Cambridge, 1882
Cyllognatha L. Koch, 1872
Dipoenura Simon, 1908
Echinotheridion Levi, 1963
Exalbidion Wunderlich, 1995
Helvibis Keyserling, 1884
Histagonia Simon, 1895
Jamaitidion Wunderlich, 1995
Keijia Yoshida, 2001
Macaridion Wunderlich, 1992
Molione Thorell, 1892
Neottiura Menge, 1868
Nesticodes Archer, 1950
Nipponidion Yoshida, 2001
Paratheridula Levi, 1957
Propostira Simon, 1894
Rugathodes Archer, 1950
Sardinidion Wunderlich, 1995
Simitidion Wunderlich, 1992
Takayus Yoshida, 2001
Tekellina Levi, 1957
Theridion Walckenaer, 1805
Theridula Emerton, 1882
Thymoites Keyserling, 1884
Tidarren Chamberlin & Ivie, 1934
Wamba O. P.-Cambridge, 1896

Coscinida japonica
(incertae sedis)

incertae sedis

Anelosimus Simon, 1891
Astodipoena Petrunkevitch, 1958 † (fossil, Eocene)
Chorizopella Lawrence, 1947
Clya Koch & Berendt, 1854 † (fossil, Eocene)
Coscinida Simon, 1895
Eodipoena Petrunkevitch, 1942 † (fossil, Eocene)
Eoysmena Petrunkevitch, 1942 † (fossil, Eocene)
Flegia Koch & Berendt, 1854 † (fossil, Eocene)
Hetschkia Keyserling, 1886
Icona Forster, 1955
Kochiura Archer, 1950
Landoppo Barrion & Litsinger, 1995
Marianana Georgescu, 1989
Mictodipoena Petrunkevitch, 1958 † (fossil, Eocene)
Municeps Petrunkevitch, 1942 † (fossil, Eocene)
Nactodipoena Petrunkevitch, 1942 † (fossil, Eocene)
Paidiscura Archer, 1950
Tomoxena Simon, 1895
Zercidium Benoit, 1977


^ Grimaldi, D.A. et al. Fossiliferous Cretaceous Amber from Myanmar (Burma): Its Rediscovery, Biotic Diversity, and Paleontological Significance. American Museum Novitates, No 3361, 2002
^ Cirrus Digital Tangle Web Spider Enoplognatha ovata
^ Platnick, Norman I.. "The World Spider Catalog". Retrieved 2009-08-11.

Agnarsson I. 2006a. A revision of the New World eximius lineage of Anelosimus (Araneae, Theridiidae) and a phylogenetic analysis using worldwide exemplars. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 146: 453-593. PDF
Agnarsson I. 2006b. Asymmetric female genitalia and other remarkable morphology in a new genus of cobweb spiders (Theridiidae, Araneae) from Madagascar. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 87: 211-232. PDF
Agnarsson I. 2006c. Phylogenetic placement of Echinotheridion (Araneae: Theridiidae) - do male sexual organ removal, emasculation, and sexual cannibalism in Echinotheridion and Tidarren represent evolutionary replicas? Invertebrate Systematics 20: 415-429. PDF
Agnarsson I. 2004. Morphological phylogeny of cobweb spiders and their relatives (Araneae, Araneoidea, Theridiidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 141: 447-626. PDF
Cooperative behavior of Anelosimus jabaquara (2002). PDF
Arnedo, M.A., Coddington, J., Agnarsson, I. & Gillespie, R.G. (2004). From a comb to a tree: phylogenetic relationships of the comb-footed spiders (Araneae, Theridiidae) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31:225-245. PDF
Arnedo MA, Agnarsson I, Gillespie RG. In Press. Molecular insights into the phylogenetic structure of the spider genus Theridion (Araneae, Theridiidae) and the origin of the Hawaiian Theridion-like fauna. Zoologica Scripta.
Aviles, L., Maddison, W.P. and Agnarsson, I. 2006. A new independently derived social spider with explosive colony proliferation and a female size dimorphism. Biotropica, 38: 743-753.
Benjamin, S.P. and Zschokke, S. 2003. Webs of theridiid spiders: construction, structure and evolution. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 78: 293-305.
Blackledge, T.A., Swindeman, J.E. and Hayashi, C.Y. 2005. Quasistatic and continuous dynamic characterization of the mechanical properties of silk from the cobweb of the black widow spider Latrodectus hesperus. Journal of Experimental Biology, 208: 1937-1949.
Blackledge, T.A. and Zevenbergen, J.M. 2007. Condition dependent spider web architecture in the western black widow Latrodectus hesperus. Animal Behaviour, 73: 855-864.
Gillespie, R.G. and Tabashnik, B.E. 1994. Foraging Behavior of the Hawaiian Happy Face Spider (Araneae, Theridiidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 87: 815-822.
Gillespie, R.G. and Tabashnik, B.E. 1989. What makes a happy face? Determinants of color pattern in the Hawaiian happy face spider Theridion grallator (Araneae, Theridiidae). Heredity, 62: 355-364.
Grostal, P. and Walter, D.E. 1997. Kleptoparasites or commensals? Effects of Argyrodes antipodianus (Araneae: Theridiidae) on nephila plumipes (Araneae: Tetragnathidae). Oecologia, 111: 570-574.
Oxford, G.S. and Gillespie, R.G. 1996. Quantum shifts in the genetic control of a colour polymorphism in Theridion grallator (Araneae: Theridiidae), the Hawaiian happy-face spider. Heredity, 76: 249-256.
Oxford, G.S. and Gillespie, R.G. 1996. Genetics of a colour polymorphism in Theridion grallator (Araneae: Theridiidae), the Hawaiian happy-face spider, from greater Maui. Heredity, 76: 238-248.
Purcell, J. and Aviles, L. 2007. Smaller colonies and more solitary living mark higher elevation populations of a social spider. Journal of Animal Ecology, 76: 590-597.
Vollrath, F. 1979. Behavior of the Kleptoparasitic Spider Argyrodes-Elevatus (Araneae, Theridiidae). Animal Behaviour, 27: 515-521.

Biology Encyclopedia


Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License